Light Source Photography by Lee Scott: Blog https://www.hikarils.com/blog en-us (C) Light Source Photography by Lee Scott (Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Sat, 28 Aug 2021 05:20:00 GMT Sat, 28 Aug 2021 05:20:00 GMT https://www.hikarils.com/img/s/v-12/u534645266-o482834254-50.jpg Light Source Photography by Lee Scott: Blog https://www.hikarils.com/blog 90 120 Winter Views-- The Cosmic Dunes and the Bad, Bad Basin-- DVNP https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/8/winter-views---the-cosmic-dunes-and-the-bad-basin---dvnp Joshua Tree and High Desert Snow, Death Valley National Park, California

Descending Death Valley Road I am soon surrounded by Joshua Trees and snow in this is high desert. After an hour of winding roads I turn right onto a bumpy, gravel road and drive straight until I see the Eureka Dunes. I arrive late in the afternoon and pop the roof top tent. I'm not going anywhere tonight. Sunset session will be right here. I grab a beer and set up the tripod and chair. Now I just have to wait for the show.

Mocha Mountain, Death Valley National Park, California

High Desert Sky, Death Valley National Park, California

Pink Sky Above, Death Valley National Park, California
 

***

The Eureka Dunes are the highest sand dunes in California and the second highest in the US. They lie in a seldom visited corner of Death Valley National Park. I dry camped here for a couple of nights and photographed these majestic dunes in fierce wind and calm dawns.

Windblown, DVNP, California

Windblown (black and white), DVNP, California

A Fierce Wind Blows, DVNP, California

***

The windblown sand stings, but it covers up foot prints and leaves perfect curves in the dunes. A day following a wind storm is perfect conditions for photography as the landscape appears untouched and new. In this state I can see the Light and the Dark. The Known and the Unknown. And it is likely that neither are what we think them to be.

S Curves of the Summit, DVNP, California
 

Brainwaves of the Cosmic Dune, DVNP, California

Eureka Dunes, DVNP, California

***

Dawn in the desert is cold, especially in January. The mountains that surround me offer no warmth as they block the sun deep into the morning. The sand is cool to the touch. 

Calm Dawn, DVNP, California

The sky alights pink and then a kind of winter grey settles in. I hike the 45 minutes back to my truck, make coffee, and sip it as I pour over a map of Death Valley National Park. I decide to go to Badwater Basin next and I'm soon back on the bumpy "road".

***

Sunset at Badwater, DVNP, California 

Badwater Basin is a salt flat in Death Valley. It lies 282 feet below sea level. It is one of the earth's lowest points and harshest environments. Perhaps it is in these extremes that one can find clarity...

Salty Shards, DVNP, California

Clarity in the Chaos, DVNP, California

The Convergence, DVNP, California

 

Aloha, 

Lee


 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Badwater Basin cali California Death Valley National Park dunes DVNP Eureka Dunes nature nature photography photography road trip Winter Views https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/8/winter-views---the-cosmic-dunes-and-the-bad-basin---dvnp Wed, 25 Aug 2021 16:58:06 GMT
Winter Views-- Lassen NF, Alabama Hills, and Ancient Bristlecones: Back to Cali https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/7/winter-views---lassen-nf-alabama-hills-and-ancient-bristlecones-back-to-cali

Winter Morning (Dawn and Cold Stone), Alabama Hills, Alabama Hills National Recreation Area, California

From Oregon I return to California, where (eventually) I'll make it to the desert sand dunes of Death Valley National Park. But for now I'm full moon chasing across the cold country. I was supposed to be in Yosemite on my birthday, but my camp reservations were cancelled due to COVID protocols by the park service/state of California. So instead of Yosemite I went up to Crater Lake and Painted Hills. I camp in the Lassen National Forest under this full moon.

Full Moon Nears, Lassen National Forest, California

A Full Moon Sets above Eagle Lake, California

From the Lassen National Forest I'm making my way to the Alabama Hills. I knew before setting out on this photography trip I would need to be flexible. I often thought about what I heard in the Marine Corps— Semper Gumbi. It's a take on the Marine Corps motto-- Semper Fidelis or Always Faithful. Semper Gumbi means Always FlexibleIt still makes me laugh... Anyway, I stopped alongside this frozen lake and photographed the moon as it was falling behind the hill where I camped on the crisp, dry snow the night before.

Frozen, California

Mono Lake and 395, California

US Route 395 is one of the most scenic roads in America. The eastern Sierra Nevada and the adventure towns on the flats and foothills are truly spectacular. A photographer, hiker, climber, skier, nature lover of all kinds could spend a lifetime here, happily exploring. Some of my favorite places are Bishop, Lone Pine, the Alabama Hills, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. 

When traveling for a couple of months at a time the days and places run together. When I review the trip in my mind I tend to remember where I was with memories of the full and new moon. Full moon photographs with a new landscape, and stars on the new. On this trip I chased the full moon in Lone Pine, Grand Canyon, Nashville, and White Sands National Park. 

Bowling Ball (A Full Moon Falls Off the Sierras), Alabama Hills National Recreation Area, California

Walking through the frozen snow. Crunch, crunch, crunch..., Alabama Hills, California

First Light Spreads over the Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, California

***

It's the first week in January and I heard that the road up the mountain to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest was still open. This was surprising to me as I expected the road into the White Mountains to be completely impassable at this time of year. I had no idea how bad the road would be, but I decided to give it a try. I only encountered a few pockets of frozen snow on the shaded turns along the lower section of the pass. The upper portion was completely snow covered, but the gate wasn’t locked. In May 2016 or 17 I made it to this point, but was forced to turn back by a locked gate and a mountain of snow. This time I had better luck and was hesitant, but happy because I wanted to see the old trees that live up there.

I Love these Old and Gnarled Trees, Ancient Bristlecone Pine National Forest, California

As I climbed the mountain the snow became deeper and the corners became more than a little sketchy. I even rescued a Prius that had slid off the road on an icy curve. I would continue onto the Schulman Grove, but I decided that I wouldn’t stay long. Something about a road that climbs 9,000 feet without guardrails makes me more than a little cautious.

Red Sky at Night, A Photographer’s Delight, Sierra Nevada Range, California 

I am standing near the summit of a mountain pass and a song by Incubus plays in my mind. The refrain sings “...and I am happy...” Watching the light blaze through the winter sky I take in the warmth of the moment. I am full of happiness and gratitude. I am reminded— amidst this mountain scene—nay, by this mountain scene-- of my incredible smallness. Awesome is the power outside of me. Outside is a good place to be.

Some Sunsets are Hard to Walk Away From (Last Look for the Night), the Sierra Nevada Range, California

The light show continued the following morning as I descended the mountain and continued onto Death Valley Road. Leaving the Mountains of Light behind I felt a tinge of sorrow. It was such a beautiful place and one that I know so little about. New scenes and locations— especially ones as gigantic as the Sierra Nevada— are intimidating. Where to begin? What can I expect? How will it go? What lies hidden in the mountain and the valleys below? Daydreaming of explorations to come, I wind my way down one road and up another.

Soon Joshua Trees will be all around me and it will be clear that I have indeed left one place and have entered into another.

And in Death Valley I might as well be entering into another dimension.

From the Mountains of Light to the Valley of Death (A Good Morning Drive), California

Aloha, 

Lee
 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Alabama Hills Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Cali California mountains nature photography photography by lee scott Road Trip snow trees winter Winter Views https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/7/winter-views---lassen-nf-alabama-hills-and-ancient-bristlecones-back-to-cali Sun, 01 Aug 2021 07:30:53 GMT
Winter Views-- The Painted Hills, Oregon https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/7/winter-views---the-painted-hills The Painted Hills, Painted Hills National Monument, Oregon

The forecast called for a snowstorm to hit the entire Cascade range around Christmas day so I escaped to the Painted Hills on Christmas Evee.

Here’s the sky that welcomed me to this magical landscape of colored stripes and gentle hills.

Christmas Eve at the Painted Hills, Painted Hills National Monument, Oregon 

After the light show I searched for a campsite and found one off a dirt road at Priest Hole. It was right along a river and would make a peaceful place to welcome Saint Nic. I celebrate the season with a delicious dinner of Beyond Meat Italian sausage, spinach, tomato sauce, pasta, and one of the best beers of the trip-- Dark Reckoning Imperial Porter from Morgan Territory Brewing.

Clouds above the Painted Hills, Painted Hills National Monument, Oregon

Christmas morning 2020. I’m standing on a hill in the dark, waiting for a sun that will not appear until the late afternoon. Clouds fill the sky above, and the gently rolling landscape slowly comes into view. The land awakes, and in the muted light of an overcast morning the badlands that surround me become filled in with color. Burgundy and beige. Soft browns and golden yellows. Hues that seem rich and sophisticated.

The Landscape is Patient and Calm, Holding Time and Mysteries in these Little Valleys of Painted Hills, Painted Hills National Monument, Oregon

The Land is Wise and I Wish to Know Her, Painted Hills National Monument, Oregon

***
From where I am standing I can easily see a girl with a dog a little further up the hill. She has been sitting on the hillside since before I arrived, well before dawn. Who travels alone into nature on Christmas morning? We talk. She’s from the east coast and couldn’t travel home for the holidays so she decided to find solace. Out here. I hope she finds it. I hope, too, that the pandemic will end and all will feel safe to travel home. And all will feel safe to travel away. To places both far and near. May all beings be happy and free.

There was still quite a bit of snow on the mountain pass leading from the Painted Hills to Bend so I decided to hang around the John Day Fossil Bends National Monument a little while longer. I drove to the Sheep Rock District and hiked the Blue Basin Trail in the morning, returning to the Painted Hills late in the afternoon.

Later Christmas Day the Sun Came out and Presented M a Gift of Light, Painted Hills National Monument, Oregon

Sea Change in the Oregon Hills, Painted Hills National Monument, Oregon

Moon Over the Oregon Landscape, Painted Hills National Monument, Oregon
 

***

On my last day in the Painted Hills, the morning was one to remember. The heavens filled with pastels, delicate hues of pinks and blues spread across the sky. I watched in wonder, happy to be here. Happy to be in nature. Happy to see the sky change and the landscape come to life.

To Talk with Mother Earth and Father Sky (Wisdom for the Ages), Painted Hills National Monument, Oregon

The picture above, To Talk with Mother Earth and Father Sky, is my favorite photograph from Oregon and one of my favorites from the entire 4 month trip. it is definitely top 5. For sure. I think it it 8 vertical photographs stitched together. I used a nodal slide to help keep the horizon line straight for maximum balance and resolution. There's so much that I like about this landscape: it's gentleness and flow, the many curves and elevations, the light and dark colors and the lines imbedded in the hills. The pastel sky of first light, too, helps to tie it all together. Yes, one of my favorites. 

Painted Hill and Morning Sky, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon

Snow on Distant Mountains, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon

Sky, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon

***

I left the Painted Hills and that amazing last sky and make my way south. While driving through Oregon down into northern eastern California I saw almost as many MAGA and Trump signs as I did Red Tailed Hawks. Needless to say, I stopped for the Hawks and not the signs.

Red Tailed Hawk, Oregon

This was back in late December so the November elections— and electoral qualms— were still fresh in everyone’s mind. Voter issues--ranging from fraud to count-- were in the public dialogue daily so at the time I could understand the prolonged support for the outgoing President. Fast forward to March and April and I’m driving through Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arkansas and I am still seeing Trump signs and flags. Some of the flags even had Trump’s face on Johnny Rambo! Those always made me take a second look just to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. Keep in mind this was five months after the election, and three months since the current administration took office.

Take Off, Oregon

In my lifetime I have never seen a four year President retain such popular support. And after speaking with several people during the trip who believe that President Trump is the greatest President of their lifetimes, I am convinced that the 2024 elections will be just as interesting and important as the 2020 and 2016 elections were.

Sometimes I feel that living on Kauai I’m in a little bubble. But this road trip across the US— 18,000 miles and 23 states— showed me a lot. Or I guess I saw a lot and had a lot of time to think. About the land, the environment, the people, the politics, the news, the conversations I shared at cafes and campfires. America is a beautiful place. I just hope she’s not broken, but I think she may be. If she is indeed broken, as I suspect, I hope we can fix her. Together. Yes, I hope we can.

Fly Away with Wings Flapping, Oregon

 
Feel free to comment on any of these topics if you like. I will read each comment with the same respect in which it is written. We can agree and we can disagree. And both are OK because that's one way we can learn about each other.

Aloha, 

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) . John Day Fossil Beds John Day Fossil Beds National Monument landscape landscape photography nature nature photography Oregon Oregon landscape Painted Hills Painted Hills National Monument photography by lee scott sky The Painted Hills travel travel photography west Western United States Winter Views https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/7/winter-views---the-painted-hills Mon, 26 Jul 2021 19:22:58 GMT
Winter Views-- Crater Lake National Park: The Land of Fluff and Puff https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/7/winter-views---crater-lake-national-park-the-land-of-fluff-and-puff First View of Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

I remember thinking to myself, Where’s all the snow?

I was soon to find out....

I drove up from Shasta and saw the snow packed peaks scattered around the horizon. The Cascades are a beautiful range and their conical shapes dotted the landscape at what seemed like regular intervals. The overall impression was, strangely enough, of Japan. And that impression would only get stronger as I approached Crater Lake from Chiloquin. 

The Flats before the Snow, Chiloquin, Oregon

The flat farmlands surrounding Chiloquin had several inches of hard snow, but nothing like the multiple feet of powder that I soon encountered after making a right turn on the approach to Crater Lake.  I soon climbed into a winter wonderland that began to look just like "Hokkaido". I said to myself in astonishment.

Crater Lake: Oregon's Mini-Hokkaido, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

When I saw the lake, and island, and all the snow(!) I was convinced that Crater Lake NP is a mini Hokkaido. Seriously. It was like I was experiencing deja vu in the wind blown snow. Akan-Mashu National Park in Hokkaido is a stunning landscape of three calder lakes. One of which, Lake Kusharo has an island in the middle. Just like Crater Lake! 

***

I left Hokkaido for Maui many years ago because I was tired of shoveling snow. On the day I flew out, I actually threw away the winter clothes I was wearing— coat, hat, gloves— when I arrived at Chitose Airport before my departing flight. I was like, Never again! 🤣). But here I was. Back in the beautiful landscape of fluff n puff. Funny how things change and stay the same.

***

There was no camping available in the park so I camped at an Oregon snow park-- basically a plowed parking lot adjacent to a snowmobile, cross country ski, and sledding area. Rustic in amenities, it was actually quite nice— vault toilets, very quiet, and there was even a warming hut where I could cook and eat out of the snow. The night’s low reached 5 degrees F, and I woke up in a frosted, ice box (note to self--  get a propane heater for the roof top tent before next winter).

Snow, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

I thought I would snowshoe and overnight in the backcountry, but I was afraid I would die so I decided on just a hike before dawn. I finally found all my winter clothes and got dressed in about 7 layers. Strapped snowshoes on my feet and set out into the great, cold unknown. 

Looking over the Wizard, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

About 100 meters into the snowshoe hike ( in the dark) I realized that I forgot my sunglasses. "Aah, I don’t need them," I thought to myself. "It’s dark and I’ll be back before the sun gets too high", I though. Silly me. I definitely needed them. Or goggles. The wind blown snow stung my eyes, and at times made it impossible to see as diamond dust shined in the light of my headlamp.

Morning Light, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

But because of this wind blown snow — and accompanying intensely cold and fierce wind— I was able to get these images.
on the way back. I think this one with the sunstar and tree is better than anything I did of the lake that cold, December morning. As long as you are alive, it is almost always worth it.

Tree of Life, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Aloha, 

Lee

 

***

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Crater Lake Crater Lake National Park nature Oregon photography photography by lee scott road trip snow travel photography winter Winter Views https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/7/winter-views---crater-lake-national-park-the-land-of-fluff-and-puff Tue, 20 Jul 2021 20:09:39 GMT
Winter Views-- California Cascades: Shasta and Lassen https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/7/winter-views---shasta-and-lassen-california-cascades Shasta's Alpen Glow, Lake Siskiyou, Mt. Shasta National Forest, California

My original itinerary had me going along the California coast to Big Sur and Malibu and then inland to the desert at Joshua Tree before going up to, what I hoped would be, a winter wonderland in Yosemite. But California's response to COVID nixed those plans rather slowly and unevenly over a two week period. So being ever flexible I looked for other places to photograph and camp and chose Mt. Shasta, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Crater Lake National Park and the Painted Hills National Monument. I had never been to Mt. Shasta and didn't really know what to expect. I was thinking something like a hippie ski town and that's kinda what it was. Friendly, outdoorsy, and beautiful nature all around Shasta-Trinity National Forest. And the mountain just has the most beautiful shape. The twin summit is like a perfect wave or a perfect haircut full of fashion and confidence. 

The Beautiful Curve of Mt. Shasta, the second highest mountain in the Cascade Range. Mt. Shasta, California

I camped about 4 miles past Lake Siskiyou in the National Forest, off a heavily iced road. The campsite was quiet (I was the only one there) and of course, cold. I was supposed to ease into the cold weather, but the above mentioned park closures forced me into my -20 F North Face bag earlier than I had planned. This bag was to become my lover and my Patagonia down parka was my best friend. Without these two items of kit the trip and the photography would have been impossible. 

Mt. Shasta is 14,170 ft. You can drive right up to the tree line and although I did, the parking area and mountain side were pretty crowded so I ended up spending most of my time around the quiet banks of Lake Siskiyou.

Lake Siskiyou Reflections, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Morning Fog Clears, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California​​​​​

On the Road in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California​​​​

It's about a 2 hour drive from Mt. Shasta to Lassen Volcanic National Park and while access inside Lassen would be limited, I wanted to do what I could in this park, which I had never visited. The drive over winding country roads was pleasant, but I worried what these roads would become if snow or ice fell. Pockets of shade would likely be tricky and I made a mental note not to speed nor to brake too hard. I decided against buying dedicated snow tires and instead ran my old BF Goodrich All Terrains (snow rated). I had chains, but was loathe to use them on. And I am happy to say that I made it through the entire trip without once putting them on. 

Light and Shadow and Forest of Evergreen Trees, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

A bald eagle looks down from an old scraggy tree, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

As the road climbed up towards Lassen, the snow began to lie thick along the side of the road. Blue skies belied the cold of December in the Cascades. The only thing open in this area of the park was the entrance road, but even it was closed after about two miles or so. Behind the Road-Closed Gate was a faint line of unplowed snow that lead up the hillside into Lassen's backcountry. I parked here and walked around Manzanita Lake, looking for wildlife and a place to photograph sunset and sunrise. I found a bald eagle, but didn't see the otters, which I had read about earlier. The walk was pleasant and as evening approached a chill blew in with a few clouds.

Eagle in Deep Blue Sky, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Half Moon and Winter Chill, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Eruption? It's Been a Minute, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Frozen Manzanita Lake and Ever Changing Sky, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

After the pink sky turned to grey, I walked back to the FJ and drove out of the park, looking for a turn off into the Lassen National Forest where I would sleep for  the night. Overnight a slight drizzle turned to sleet and then to snow and I awoke inside an ice box. The roof top tent-- no matter how amazing it is-- is still a tent. And like a tent, it takes maintenance. Before departing I had to brush off the snow so that I could close the tent. The outside fabric was stiff from the cold, but it closed up fine.

 Sunrise Sunstar, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

First tracks over forest road. Cautious and cold I turn onto the highway and see that here, too, the plows have yet to come. It’s early still-- sunrise more than and hour away. Only short spells of light around the winter solstice here in the southern Cascades. First tracks and it’s clear that I am the first to arrive at Lassen Volcanic National Park today. No other tires or human foot prints have marked the midnight snow. Quiet, calm and yes, freezing. The tradeoffs of visiting the national parks in the winter are many. Many of the northern and mountainous parks have area, road and season long closures. Most if not all campgrounds are closed or snowed-in. Water is not readily available as most spigots have been shut off and the pipes drained for the season. Driving is stressful and the weather unpredictable. But the solitude and freshness of view are inspirational.

Eagle Dare, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Everything Looks Good in the Snow, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

On my way back to Mt. Shasta intermittent stretches of highway are hidden by the pines and the shadows hold black ice that changes lives. Headlights flash, warning me to take caution and care. I soon see, all along the right side of the road, articles of clothing, blankets, dishes, gear. A pillow. And then a camper lies separated from a silver truck, which lies a hundred yards away. I pull over and stop. I take out my first aid kit and walk towards the driver and passenger to offer assistance and see that other travelers have stopped to do the same. They slid on the ice, unusual for this time of year. One of the bystanders says to me as I approach. Sirens are the next sound to break the silence and I slowly head on. Just a few minutes down the road a truck floats in the forest, suspended between two trees. How it got there I'll never know. But a man who holds an iPhone shakily surely knows. These Winter Views come at a cost. I must be sure that it is one that I can afford. Caution and Care. I shall proceed with caution and care. 

Pine Comes, California

***

Next up, Crater Lake and the Painted Hills

Aloha, 

Lee
 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) California Lassen Lassen National Forest Lassen Volcanic National Park Mt. Shasta National Parks nature nature photography road trip roadtrip Shasta Shasta-Trinity National Forest travel travel photography https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/7/winter-views---shasta-and-lassen-california-cascades Tue, 13 Jul 2021 23:55:13 GMT
Winter Views-- December 2020 to April 2021-- Intro https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/7/winter-views---december-2020-to-april-2021---part-1

2020 was a year of opportunity. Opportunities to think, to walk, to photograph, to be grateful for the life of friends and loved ones who past and to be grateful for the lives we have. 2020 gave us a chance to take a timeout. To rest. To watch way too much Netflix. To spend time with our family and to take some time for ourselves. 2020 gave us chances everyday to think about what is really and truly important to us. And hopefully we used this opportunity to discover more about ourselves and what it is we love. Yeah, a timeout. 2020 was a timeout. I realized just how important being photography and being in nature are to me. It is who I am and how I wish to connect with the world and with you. 

I used the last days of 2020 and the first months of 2021 to photograph nature outside of Kauai, in 23 states over 18,000 miles. When people ask me, "Where did you go?" I reply, "America." One place and just one state wasn't enough for this long timeout and opportunity of discovery. 

Originally I had two, separate, winter photography trips planned. One to Yosemite National Park in December/January. And one to Yellowstone National Park in late February. However, when Kauai was removed from the Hawaii Safe Travels Program in November-- effectively eliminating tourism (safe or otherwise) and making any productive business activity in the gallery nearly impossible-- I decided to combine the two winter trips into one, long, photography road trip. So I put an "Open by appointment" sign on the shop window; shipped my 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser to Oakland; and from there I drove to Sonoma where Gary and his team at Mudrak Custom Cruisers installed an Alucab Expedition Rooftop Tent, Alucab Shadow Awning and an ARE rear drawer. I needed some new kit to help me camp in the winter as I knew most campsites would be closed or would have limited facilities available. And I'm getting a little old for a long road trip out of a tent. :-)

The above picture shows my FJ and Alucab tent 15,000 miles later in TX. During the trip I slept 90 nights in this tent, sleeping only two nights in a hotel after getting the Alucab tent installed at Mudrak Custom Cruisers in Sonoma, CA.

FJ and Alucab Shadow Awning in Big Cypress National Preserve. The awning wasn't that useful during the colder areas of the trip. During the cold winter days I wanted as much sunshine as I could get! However, I did use it in Zion NP and in Grand Canyon NP while cooking and eating in sleet (Zion) and snow (GCNP).

*If you have any questions about the overloading gear seen above feel free to ask in the comments section below. I may add a gear review on the Alucab roof top tent and awning one day. Let me know if you would like to see something like that. Cheers!

***

Sigh, Sonoma, CA

Anyway, back in Sonoma, I had a day or two to kill while the Alucab tent, awning, and overloading accessories were being installed. So I grabbed my camera and walked around town. I took a few pictures and ate a wonderful brunch at Sunflower. Of course, due to then revised COVID protocols, I had to eat my avocado sandwich in the park because just a week before I arrived all outside dining at restaurants and cafes was forbidden by the state of California! This was something that would be very challenging during the trip-- all of the different COVID rules and regulations that I would encounter from California to Florida from December to April. I knew I would need to be flexible during the trip, and I recalled what I heard often in the Marine Corps-- Semper Gumby. So yeah, I would need to be always flexible.
 

Tile, Sonoma, CA

Time for Reflection (The Journey Begins), Sonoma, CA

***

Forthcoming blog posts will feature photographs and Winter Views from

  • Mt. Shasta National Forest, CA
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA
  • Crater Lake National Park, OR
  • Painted Hills National Monument, OR
  • Alabama Hills National Recreation Area, CA
  • Death Valley National Park, CA
  • Valley of Fire State Park, NV
  • Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
  • Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, AZ
  • Zion National Park, UT
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  • Arches National Park, UT
  • Canyonlands National Park, UT
  • Grand Teton National Park, WY
  • Yellowstone National Park, WY
  • Badlands National Park, SD
  • Big Cypress National Preserve, FL
  • Everglades National Park, FL
  • Kissatchie National Forest, LA
  • State Parks across Texas
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Monument, NM
  • White Sands National Monument, NM
  • And a few places in between

In the next post I'll share a few images from Mt. Shasta and Lassen, two of California's beautiful Cascade mountains. 

I'll be in touch soon.

Aloha, 

Lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Alucab Alucab Expedition Tent California camping nature nature photography on the road overland overloading photography roadtrip roof top tent Winter Views https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2021/7/winter-views---december-2020-to-april-2021---part-1 Mon, 12 Jul 2021 01:30:58 GMT
A Life Changing Adventure-- The Kalalau Trail https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/9/an-epic-hike---the-kalalau-trail A Chance to Rest and Look Through the LeavesA Chance to Rest and Look Through the LeavesThe Kalalau Trail is a difficult hike. It's 11 miles long; grueling in it's elevation loss and gain; narrow and often muddy; slippery when wet and loose when dry; but the views all along the trail are always pretty good. This one is one of my favorites. Probably around 1.75 miles into the trail you get the opportunity to look down onto Hanakapi'ai Beach through typically lush Na Pali vegetation.
Kalalau Trail, Kauai
A Chance to Rest and Look Through the Leaves, Kalalau Trail, mile 1.75, Kauai.

Do a Google search of the best hikes in the world and 8 out of the 10 results will include the Kalalau Trail. And most will likely have it at, or near the top of the list. For me, I rank it right up there with The Teton Crest Trail in Wyoming and The Santa Cruz Trek (with side hike to Laguna 69) in Peru as the best hikes/ overnight treks that I have ever done.
I have hiked the full Kalalau Trail three times now-- once in October 2013 and twice this past summer (July and August/September 2020). In 2013 I hiked all 11 miles each way, and camped two nights at Kalalau Beach. After I returned home, sore and hurting, I said that if I were to hike it again, I would break it up and stop in Hanakoa-- at least on the way in.

Much of the Kalalau Trail is narrow, loose and or muddy (depending on the rain) single track, high along the ocean cliffs of the incomparable Na Pali Coast along Kauai's north west shore. The Kalalau Trail, Mile 3, July 2020.

As the Kalalau progresses you soon find it's rhythm: Climb up stones and mud to level off atop a sea cliff. Then descend down into a valley, crossing streams and no name waterfalls. Kalalau Trail, Mile 1.5, July 2020.

In both July and August 2020 I followed my own advice and camped at Hanakoa on the way in and on the way out. I found this itinerary to be much more enjoyable-- especially since I carried two cameras, tripod, filters, tabis, all of our camping gear, and half of our food. :-)

One of the Many Little Falls of HanakoaOne of the Many Little Falls of HanakoaHanakoa Valley, Kauai
August 2020

One of the Many Little Waterfalls at Hanakoa, The Kalalau Trail, Mile 6.25, August 2020.

Hanakoa is at mile 6 of the 11 mile long Kalalau Trail. If nothing more it is a nice place to rest before continuing on to Kalalau. For others it's a reasonable place to make camp, and overnight before the heat of the day really sets in. If you do decide to camp here, keep in mind that there are two camping areas: one before Hanakoa stream, and a second is to be found after crossing the steam and climbing above the fast flowing waters of Hanakoa Valley. Both of the main campsites have a covered pavilion and picnic table, but only the first camping area (Ha'ena side) has a vault toilet. The Kalalau side does not have a toilet. This means that if you choose to camp on the Kalalau side of Hanakoa stream, you will have to cross the stream every time you wish to use the toilet. Both campsites are fine, and I have camped at both. Generally I choose to camp on the side closest to where I am going-- on the way in to Kalalau I choose the Kalalau Side. And on the way out, I choose the Ha'ena side. While I enjoyed my nights at Hanakoa, Hanakoa Valley (and indeed, all of the valleys along the Kalalau Trail) can be quite "buggy." So bug spray (Deet) and mosquito coil are recommended. We kept a mosquito coil burning pretty much our entire time at Hanakoa and didn't have any mosquito problems. If you can find space in your pack, I would take definitely take some.

Cliffside TrailCliffside TrailWhen people would ask me about my experience on the Kalalau Trail I used to joke with them that while hiking it if you ever felt like you might be lost just ask yourself, "Am I on the side of an ocean cliff?" If the answer is "yes", then you are not lost. Likewise if you are still unsure of your whereabouts ask yourself, "Am I descending into a deep valley that I know I will have to climb out of eventually?" Again, if the answer is "Yes", then you are on the right path. It's just one of those crazy hikes, that make it one of the best in the world.
Kalalau Trail, Kauai
This photo was taken during a 5 day / 4 night backpack trip to Kalalau Beach in the Na Pali Coast Wilderness State Park in July 2020.
Loose scree around mile 7 of the Kalalau Trail initiates the hiker to the more dangerous, infamous section of the Kalalau Trail: Mile 7-8. Kalalau Trail, Mile 6.9, July 2020.

After a night of blissfully listening to the rushing waters of Hanakoa stream we woke up inside a wet tent and I made a quick breakfast of mango oatmeal, coffee and energy gelWe then break camp, load our packs and begin our hike from Hanakoa to Kalalau. 5 miles ahead of us and we are a little nervous and excited for what awaits. Soon after climbing out of Hanakoa Valley, we turn the corner and see ocean blue  before descending into another valley. The trail is loose and overgrown but we are soon out onto another exposed cliff. Yet this one seems a little different. It's a little wilder, a little steeper and I approach it with much more caution. Yep, we've come to mile 7-8, perhaps the most dangerous section of trail, one that culminates with "Crawler's Ledge" and will test us both mentally and physically.

Mile 7 to 8Mile 7 to 8The infamous section of the Kalalau Trail is without a doubt Mile 7 to 8, culminating on a giant step up to Crawler's Ledge. I can honestly say in 2013 when I hiked this section I was completely terrified, both going and coming. But this time I wasn't going to give the mountain my fear. I wasn't going to let it take my power. On the drive to the trailhead I even gave myself a pep talk, saying that I would respect the mountain, the trail, and the ocean but that I was not going to give in to it. I would channel the respect of the place to the power and humility to walk with the mountain, trail and ocean below. Yes, hiking the Kalalau Trail is a life changing experience.
Kalalau Trail, Kauai
This photo was taken during a 5 day / 4 night backpack trip to Kalalau Beach in the Na Pali Coast Wilderness State Park in July 2020.

Miles 7-8 of the Kalalau Trail, Mile 7, July 2020

In 2013 this section of trail terrified me. No joke. I was scared. I actually got a crick in my neck from walking the entire trail, but especially here because I refused to look down towards the oceanside. Instead, I craned my neck to look down to where the cliff met the trail, refusing to allow anything else into view. But in July 2020, on the drive to Ke'e beach, I had a little pep talk with myself, telling myself that I would respect the trail, respect the mountain and respect the ocean below. But I wasn't going to give it my fear. And I wasn't going to give it my power.  This, as well as hiking with Naomi, really helped. Now, after a few times over this section in the past couple of weeks Mile 7-8 is actually one of the funner parts of the trail. Yes, it is narrow. And the drop is real, but it ain't nothin' to give your fear to. Please, don't  let this section, or any other section prevent you from hiking to Kalalau. You'll be OK and your life will be better for the trek, the effort, the courage, and for the respect given to the trail, the mountain, the ocean, and the Na Pali Coast Wilderness Area. 

The views along the Kalalau Trail, especially after Hanakoa Valley are truly stunning.
 

Piggy Back, Kalalau Trail, Mile 8, July 2020

Colors of the KalalauColors of the KalalauThe colors of the Kalalau Trail-- blue, emerald green, turquoise, brown, orange, red, sky blue, deep ocean blue, beige, yellow, yellow-green. It's all here. This is pure Na Pali and the point on the trail where the deep greens turn to drier oranges and a myriad of browns.
Kalalau Trail, Kauai
This photo was taken during a 5 day / 4 night backpack trip to Kalalau Beach in the Na Pali Coast Wilderness State Park in July 2020.
The Colors of the Kalalau Trail, Mile 8.75, July 2020

Green and Blue, Kalalau Trail, Mile 9, July 2020

Do You See What I SeeLook What I SeeKalalau Trail, Kauai
August 2020

Wild goats keep you company along the trail. Keep your ears and eyes open for their call and cliffside runs. Kalalau Trail, Mile 9.5, August 2020

KalalauKalalauThe first view across the sacred Kalalau Valley comes a little before mile 10, and signals a homecoming for all who hike the magnificent trail.
Kalalau Trail, Kauai
This photo was taken during a 5 day / 4 night backpack trip to Kalalau Beach in the Na Pali Coast Wilderness State Park in July 2020.
The Red Hill above the Verdant Kalalau Valley, Kalalau Trail, Mile 10, July 2020.

 

Sunset at Kalalau Beach, Kalalau Trail, Mile 12, July 2020.

After arriving at Kalalau Beach we chose a permitted campsite in "the woods" about a a half mile after crossing Kalalau Stream. All of the campsites in the permitted wooded area are quiet, and most of the campers here hiked in. Closer towards the main portion of Kalalau Beach, by the waterfall (shower!), the campsites tend to be a little more populated and can be noisy as many boaters tend to arrive-- especially on the weekends and likely, without permits-- with partying on their mind. Please, I encourage you to keep this area wild. Get permits; hike or Kayak in and out; and leave no trace. If you do decide to boat in, please, do so legally and take out what you bring in. Respect sacred Kalalau. Mahalo nui loa.

If you don't want to hike it, why not try kayaking in and out? A summer paddle on the Na Pali Coast may be the perfect adventure.

Kalalau Beauty, July 2020

Looking for Waves, Kalalau Beach, July 2020

And Finding Them (Toes to the Nose), Kalalalu Beach, July 2020

Sunrise Kalalau Beach, July 2020

Kalalau BeachKalalau BeachKalalau Beach, Kauai
August 2020
Kalalau: Where Rainbows are Raised, Kalalau Beach, August 2020

A Rainbow Falls into Kalalau Valley, Kalalau Valley, July 2020

The weather moves in and out all along the trail, catching on the mountains and rain showers often pass, offering blessings to the hikers and the landscape alike.

Hope for an hour or two of rain one day and use the time to rest, listening to the rain tap-tap against the tent or lush foliage of the valley.

As soon as the showers come, they pass, revealing spires and flutes, hinting at the mysteries left behind. Kalalau, July 2020.

Point NotedPoint NotedClouds lift, revealing the points and razor ridges of the Na Pali Coast.
Kalalau Valley, Kauai
This photo was taken during a 5 day / 4 night backpack trip to Kalalau Beach in the Na Pali Coast Wilderness State Park in July 2020.
The mountains and clouds of the Na Pali Coast, Kalalau, July 2020.

If you have the energy, explore the Valley Trail to Big Pool. I didn't make it back there until my third trip to Kalalau, but Big Pool because it a really cool spot. Think short hike to a cold mountain stream where you can frolic and sun on the warm rocks of the valley wall while listening to a tropical waterfall.

Exploring the ValleyExploring the ValleyKalalau Valley, Kauai
July 2020
Valley Stream, Kalalau Valley Trail, July 2020. 

Born Free (That Time I Jumped into Big Pool, Naked)That Time I Jumped into Big Pool, Naked (Born Free)Kalalau Valley, Kauai
September 2020
The Big Pool (Born Free), Kalalau Valley, August 2020.

Where Rainbows FlyWhere Rainbows FlyA panoramic view of arching rainbow and the mountains of Kalalau.
Kalalau Valley, Kauai
This photo was taken during a 5 day / 4 night backpack trip to Kalalau Beach in the Na Pali Coast Wilderness State Park in July 2020.

Coming out of the valley to catch a rainbow, Kalalau Valley, July 2020.

The Kalalau DimensionThe Kalalau DimensionGoing to Kalalau is like opening yourself up to an adventure into a different dimension. A new dimension of being. Of possibility and beauty heretofore unimagined. Be prepared and be open.
Kalalau Beach, Kauai
August 2020

Going to Kalalau is like entering a new dimension. Sea Cave, Kalalau Beach. August 2020

Night Fall and Planets RiseNight Fall as Stars and Planets RiseThe Milky Way and night sky rise over the jagged peaks and razor spines of Kalalau.
Kalalau Beach, Kauai
This photo was taken during a 5 day / 4 night backpack trip to Kalalau Beach in the Na Pali Coast Wilderness State Park in July 2020.

Night Sky above Kalalau Beach, July 2020.

Hiking The Kalalau Trail is truly a life changing experience. You truly become part of the landscape and by extension the entire experience becomes a part of you, never to be removed.

Get your permits here at the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

Random Notes....

When packing, go as light as possible. Consider only taking a few items of clothing. It really isn't going to be cold out there unless if you are doing night or very early morning photography. If you are walking around, hiking, exploring then I don't think you will ever be cold. So no need for hoodies or anything like that. You may want to consider a light rain jacket though as it will rain and if it is windy one morning before sunrise you can always throw it on to block the wind. 

If you are going for photography take everything that you think you may need because you may not ever make it back there again.

I find a wide angle zoom (16-35) and a medium, telephoto zoom (70-200) to be very useful. I carried the following gear in July and August 2020:

  • Canon 5DSR with battery grip and Really Right Stuff L Plate
  • Canon 1DX II with Really Right Stuff tripod plate
  • Canon 16-35, f/2.8 III
  • Canon 70-200, f/2.8, II
  • Really Right Stuff travel/hiking tripod (very light, and,just as important, short so that it doesn't extend beyond bottom of pack)
  • Lee Filters-- Grads, NDs (Big Stopper and Little Stopper)
  • Other stuff like remote, polarizers, lens cleaners, extra batteries, etc...

I carried all cameras and camping gear in an F Stop Gear Tilopa pack and F Stop Gear tripod bag. 

In 2013 I used a Clik Elite bag and carried a Canon 5D3 and a Canon 16-35, f/2.8 II. If you were to only carry one lens I would go with a wide angle zoom. Wider the better out here because the mountains are so close to you.

October 2013 Trip-- 3 Days and 2 Nights (Kalalau x2)

July 2020 Trip-- 4 Days and 3 Nights (Hanakoa- Kalalau x2- Hanakoa)

August/September Trip-- 5 Days and 6 Nights (Hanakoa- Kalalau x3- Hanakoa)

In July and August 2020 we ate Trailtopia backcountry food for most of our meals. I really love this company and their delicious vegetarian meals. You can find their products here at Trailtopia.com

I used a MSR Hubba Bubba 2P Tent, Patagonia quilt, and Nemo inflatable sleeping pad and pillow. Hammocks are popular sleeping options, but be prepared for rain. 

Tabis (felt soled neoprene booties) are useful for the stream crossings as they add safety to otherwise sneaky tricky sections of trail.

Slippahs are a luxury for camp and are highly recommended. They are comfy, and they let your feet dry out. A clothesline is also useful to hang dry any wet items like socks, shirts, swim shorts, etc... 

A medicine kit and duct tape/athletic tape are also recommended. This may come in handy in all kinds of various situations. Check out Naomi's hiking boots from our July 2020 hike. She had a massive blowout right at mile 7-- on the way in! We had to make several repairs at different times both on the trail and at camp. Thank goodness we had tape and a positive attitude!

Legend. Kalalau Trail, July 2020

***

If you would like to see more images from my hikes to Kalalau click the link here, The Kalalau Trail

Likewise, if you have any questions about the hike, my experiences or the gear I took, please feel free to reach out to me in the comments section below. I would love to hear about your experiences as well. Mahalo and happy trails!

Aloha,

Lee

PS-- All mileage is approximate. 

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hiking Kalalau Kalalau Beach Kalalau Trail Kalalau Valley Kauai kauai photography landscape Na Pali Coast nature photography by lee scott The Kalalau Trail The Na Pali Coast https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/9/an-epic-hike---the-kalalau-trail Mon, 28 Sep 2020 22:26:06 GMT
Images of Energy: The Mana of Kauai from Ocean to Trail https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/8/images-of-energy-the-mana-of-kauai-from-ocean-to-trail Images of Energy: The Mana of Kauai from Ocean to TrailImages of Energy: The Mana of Kauai from Ocean to TrailThe Garden Island of Kauai flows intensely with mana, a spiritual energy of great power that both resides in and is given by nature. Walk, swim, and hike with Kauai based photographer Lee Scott as he takes you from Ocean to Trail, and experience the healing power of Kauai's mana in all its dynamic beauty.
This photo book is filled with over 100 of Lee's favorite Kauai Images of Energy.
10"x8"; Hardcover; 116 pages; Fine photographic paper.
$89 + $15 Shipping = $104

Above you will see the cover of my new photo book, Images of Energy: The Mana of Kauai from Ocean to Trail. This book features over 100 photographs from my favorite beaches, hikes and wild places of Kauai. The hardcover 10"x8" photo book contains 112 pages, and is printed on fine photographic paper, which has a pearly luminescent finish.

When making the book I wanted to focus on the energy of the island-- the mana that I see and feel when I go out with camera and pack to photograph Kauai's incredible nature. I find that this energy heals my spirit and mind, and in this time of uncertainty, I wish to share this healing power with you all.

The book is organized into two sections: Oceans and Trails. Each section moves clockwise around the island. The Ocean section starts at Ke'e Beach, and the Trails portion begins at Hanakapi'ai Falls. The book includes a basic map (seen above ) to help guide you from location to location. Not every beach of Kauai is featured, nor is every trail. And some are represented with multiple photos. I did this because I didn't want the book to be merely a guide book. I wanted it to be more meaningful and in this way I think that you will find an opportunity for personal discovery, creativity and fun. 

Pop the Top had to be in the book. This image is all about the mana of Kauai's oceans. The dynamic interplay of water and light, made possible by the underwater formations that cause waves to dance all along the Na Pali Coast. I just couldn't make a book about Kauai without this photo being included.

My mom and dad received an advance copy of Images of Energy and my dad surprised me with a text that read, "Page 39 is my favorite." To be honest I had no idea which image he was talking about and had to inquire which one it was that he liked. He replied, "Full Moon Rise and Palm Trees." This photograph was taken looking across Nawiliwili Harbor towards the new Timbers Resort in Lihue. I would have never thought that this image would be my dad's favorite. But that's part  of the fun of the book. Looking through the over 100 photographs and finding the one that you that speaks to you most clearly. 

Much of my photography is based on intention: planning; revisiting; studying the behavior of animals and ocean; and reconnaissance of trails and wilderness areas. I think this meditative process comes through when viewing the book as a whole. The images come from 8 years of living and photographing on Kauai. I think the oldest image is from the spring of 2012 and the newest is from the summer of 2020. In a sense it is a retrospective of my time on Kauai and my relationship with the island. And the book was made during a time when we all had ample chance to reflect on what the hell it is we are doing.

Be healed by Kauai. Let Images of Energy be the medicine.

Aloha,

Lee

 

Images of Energy: The Mana of Kauai from Ocean to Trail ($89 + $15 shipping) is available to order online by clicking this link or my contacting Lee directly.

Mahalo!

 

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) book Images of Energy: The Mana of Kauai from Ocean to Trail island islands Kauai Kauai beaches Kauai hikes Kauai Island Kauai photographer Kauai photography Lee Scott mana nature photo book https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/8/images-of-energy-the-mana-of-kauai-from-ocean-to-trail Fri, 14 Aug 2020 21:52:22 GMT
The Curfew is Over https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/5/the-curfew-is-over This morning, Tuesday May 6, 2020 the nightly curfew on Kauai expired. The nightly curfew? You ask. Yes, the government of Kauai enacted and enforced a nightly curfew from 9pm to 5am to combat the spread of the Coronavirus and to avoid overburdening the island's first responders. But now that curfew has been lifted so let's celebrate FREEDOM! with 10 images that were either taken between 9pm and 5am or where made possible by traveling during this period of darkness. I must be clear that none of this photographs were taken during the time of the curfew itself. These are all older images from the archives. Rest assured, during the time of the curfew I was at home watching Netflix, drinking beer, playing with the cats or cards or sleeping. :-)

1. In the Light of Lightning, Kilauea Lighthouse, December 4, 2012

Kilauea LighthouseIn the Light of LightningThis shot was particularly challenging as it was taken at 8.45 pm with no artificial lighting-- except for the beacon, which shines behind the kilauea lighthouse. All of the other light in this photo comes from three lightning flashes over one 25 second exposure...
I went out the intention of photographing the lighthouse and lightning bolts, but the lightning strikes were of the cloud-to-cloud variety so i took another approach. I decided to gather light from multiple lightning flashes and use that to light the lighthouse and kilauea point against the ocean and sky. It was incredibly difficult finding enough light to enable the auto focus so that the lighthouse was sharp and clear. It was just too dark for me to manually focus on the lighthouse with any clarity. I tried and tried, but nothing came out sharp. So I waited and waited for the storm to get closer. I waited for the perfect blast of lightning-- one that would be both close enough and bright enough to provide sufficient light for the auto focus to pick up detail in the lighthouse and "focus" where I wanted. And I got it. Once focused, i then turned off the auto focus and tried several shots at various timed exposures, hoping to get several flashes of lightning in one exposure. well, my plan worked, and after three and a half hours in the rain and storm, i got the shot. The reward was well worth the difficulty.
Kilauea Lighthouse and Refuge, Kauai, Hawaii

Photo taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark III, f/2.8 @135mm, 25s, ISO 800, No Flash.

HAWAIIMagazine.com Award Winner, December 2012.

***Limited Edition Metal Prints-- all sizes-- SOLD OUT. Mahalo!
In the Light of Lightning was taken around 8:45 pm in the middle of a lightning storm. It is a single exposure, 25 seconds long. During the exposure three separate flashes of sheet lightning lit up Kilauea Point and the 100 year old Kilauea Lighthouse. On this night I photographed at the cul de sac by the gate to teh lighthouse and National Wildlife Refuge for about 3 hours, leaving around 9pm. At the time, I lived in Princeville so it wasn't a long drive home, but I would not have made it in time to meet curfew. Thank goodness there was no curfew (or Coronavirus) then! Since I released this photograph in late December of 2012 it has been my best selling image. Only two metal prints remain, and I don't have anything else like it. It is, without doubt, my most unique photograph. 

2. Na Pali Coast at Sunset Seen from the Nualolo Trail, Koke'e State Park, July 1, 2015

The Napali Coast at SunsetThe Na Pali Coast at Sunset Seen from the NualoloA four mile long sunset hike along the Nualolo Trail led me to this magnificent view of Kauai's famed Na Pali Coast. I hiked back in the light of the full moon and headlamp with my mind and body full of nature's mana or power.
Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawaii

Na Pali Coast at Sunset Seen from the Nualolo Trail is another photograph that wasn't taken after 9pm or before 5am, but it couldn't have been done with a curfew in place. You see, I hiked out here for sunset and then hiked back in the light of the full moon. The Nualolo Trail is a difficult 8 miles long trail, but it's one of the best hikes on Kauai. I had been thinking about doing this hike at sunset for some time and was happy to finally accomplish this goal. I'm thinking of doing it again real soon. I'll keep you posted...

3. Koke'e Night Sky and Paperbark Tree, Waimea, June 29, 2014

Kauai Night SkyKoke'e Night Sky and Paper Bark TreeI'm always looking for lone trees. I just love to photograph 'em. To me, they are symbols of strength, perseverance, community, shelter and much much more.
I drove up to koke'e early one evening on the night following a newl moon, looking for a tree that i could include in a shot of the milky way. I had been up the night prior, and photographed a big, fluffy mango tree, but wasn't totally satisfied with the results. I actually felt like I left something up on the mountain. So I decided to go up again and give it another try. I'm glad I did I am really pleased with this shot. I really like the dynamism of this picture. I also like how the paper bark tree encourages you to leave it and explore the image in it's totality. I wanted something that would show the earth and universe on the same plane. And I think this image conveys that feeling. After taking several shots, I called it a night and slept under this sky at my campsite in Koke'e. Waimea Canyon and Koke'e are truly special places on this very special island.
Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii


*12"x18" Metal Print SOLD OUT
*16"x24" Metal Print SOLD OUT
Koke'e Night Sky hints at the magical possibilities of Kauai. It's a dreamy image, and like all of my photographs, it is a single exposure. For this shot I used a head lamp and shined it on the tree during the 30 second exposure. Aperture is wide open at f/2.8 and I'm shooting at 16mm wide. There is residual light from sunset and a lot of ambient light from Port Allen reflecting off the clouds. A couple of shooting stars are also visible. I like this one. There's a lot to look at and it keeps bringing me back for more. After taking this photograph I camped at Koke'e State Parka and slept under this sky. Yes, the magical qualities of Kauai.

4. Shipwrecked, Poipu, July 3, 2017

Shipwrecks beachShipwreckedThe Milky Way shines over Shipwrecks Beach in Poipu. Summer is here and the stars are out!
Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Shipwrecked is truly a night shot. I took this photograph at 10:47pm at Shipwrecks beach in Poipu. I try for one night sky photograph a summer and this was the one for 2017. I like the contrast of milky way and ocean and the gradient illumination on the cliff. By the way, the light on the cliff is ambient light coming from the Grand Hyatt. I didn't add any light or utilize a head lamp or light beam for this one. I shot this photograph at 15mm using an ultra wide angle Zeiss Milvus prime lens, f/2.8, and a 30 second exposure.

5. Peering Into the Night Sky, Hanalei, August 30, 2019

Hanalei Bay night skyPeering into the Night SkyI try for one night sky photograph a summer. And in 2019 I got clouded out on my first attempts in June. I was traveling in July so that left the days before and after the new moon in August as my last real chance for a starry night photograph. Luckily, clear skies welcomed the new moon in late August and I was able to take this photograph at Hanalei Bay. I painted the pier with light with my headlamp, and might have upset some fishermen while doing so. Because they decided to shine their lights back towards me. After this happened I decided to pack it up and go home. It was late anyway (about 1:30 AM) and I was getting sleepy.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

Peering into the Night Sky was a long, late night. I started at the famous, old church in Hanalei-- Wai Oli Hui La'a-- but there was too much light pollution for me to pick up a lot of stars. After fruitlessly trying for something that the conditions wouldn't allow, I decided to move to Black Pot beach where I took this photograph-- at 12:33am. Here, I again used a head lamp to light up the pier. This technique is called "light painting". It takes some trial and error, but once you get it dialed in it can be an effective technique to have in your bag of tricks.

6. Super Blood Moon, Kulikoa Point, January 20, 2019

Super Blood Moon, 1.20.19Super Blood Moon, 1.20.19The Super Blood Moon at peak eclipse.
Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii

A lunar eclipse turns the full moon red. These are so much fun to photograph. This eclipse occurred quite early in the evening, actually. And while this particular image was taken outside of the verboten times, the walk back to the car was a long one, and I didn't get back home till well after 9pm. So we celebrate the Super Blood Moon here! :-)

7. Super Blue Blood Moon, Moloa'a, January 31, 2018

The clouds lifted around 2:45 am and the stars shined brightly. I got dressed and made my way outside with camera gear to photograph the rare super blue blood moon— the first one since 1866. This photograph is from the peak, around 3:20 or so. I like these events that bring people together from all over the world. It makes me feel connected and happy that nature is the connector.

8. Night Dance, Koke'e State Park, August 12, 2015

Night DanceNight DanceKauai, Hawaii

“How can we know the dancer from the dance?”

    ~ William Butler Yeats

This is my favorite photo from a night of amazing star gazing in Koke’e State Park. I hoped to photograph a meteor shower, but was unlucky. I don't think I caught a single one.

9. Closer than You Think, Polihale State Park, June 24, 2014

Closer Than You ThinkCloser Than You ThinkKauai, Hawaii

The stars are closer to us than we realize. Our dreams are closer than we think. And so, too, are our fears. Let's brush them aside and grab our dreams.

10. 3 Sisters, Salt Ponds Beach Park, July 14, 2015

Salt Ponds Beach Park, Kauai3 sistersThree palm trees stand in the morning light at Salt Ponds Beach Park.
Salt Ponds Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Golden hour on a west side morning can be quite special. But if you are staying on the North Shore it can be a very early start and a long drive past many wonderful sunrise spots along the way. I lived on the North Shore of Kauai for 10 years and wanted to to try something different on this morning. So we packed up the camera gear and coffee and made a day of it on the west side, stopping first at Salt Ponds for this photograph of palm trees gently blowing in the breeze. Now, I live on the west side so I can make it down here every morning if I wished. Funny though.  I'm thinking about North Shore sunrises now that the curfew stay pau. 

Stay safe and healthy!

Aloha,

Lee

 

 

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Coronavirus Hawaii Kauai kauai photography landscape nature night night sky photography by lee scott https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/5/the-curfew-is-over Thu, 07 May 2020 01:16:45 GMT
An Intimate Look Along the Alakai Swamp Trail https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/5/an-intimate-look-along-the-alakai-swamp-trail The Alakai Swamp Trail on Kauai is hike best done slowly and with the senses alive. The end view at Kilohana Vista is often never realized due to clouds and fog, but the beauty of this trail is not in the distant view-- it' in the up close. The intimate look at the unique plants is a botanist dream. The sound of the birds is a symphonic high. The feeling of the mist and wind on your skin is a complete change to that of the ocean and beaches below. The scent of the flora as it dries in the ephemeral sunlight is blessing to be cherished in the moment and in memory.

As you walk the trail look at the little things that are all around you. Some are fluffy and others prickly.

All Stages and Ages of LifeAll Stages and Ages of LifeA little fern grows along the Alakai Swamp Trail.
Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawaii

Life is all around you.

In all different stages and ages and many, many shades of green.

Because the Alakai Swamp Trail rail leads through an Hawaiian rainforest and bog, much of the path follows planks and boardwalk, some of which are in decay.

The chaos of the rainforest can be overwhelming. It's quite easy to trip or slip as you travel, awestruck, through this wondrous world of green.
 

SqueezedSqueezedFerns and trees squeeze the path of the Alakai Swamp Trail in Koke'e State Park.
Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawaii

In most sections of descent and ascent the boardwalk breaks off into fern-lined steps.

The planks become squeezed by mosses, ginger, tree ferns, and ohia trees.

There is one easy stream crossing as the trail descends an Ohia grove and then rises to the swamp a few hundred feet above.

Nene crossing in the boggy-foggy Alakai Swamp.

If you are lucky you'll see Nene, Apapane, I'iwi and maybe even a Pueo along the trail. The trail is an absolute birders paradise.

A pueo flies high above the Alakai Swamp Trail in Koke'e State Park, Kauai.

A Pueo in an OhiaA Pueo in an OhiaWith about a half mile left I was cruising along day dreaming of my post hike beer when this Pueo flies over the trail as silently as could be. I dropped my trekking poles and pack and grabbed my camera in flurry. By the time I was ready the Pueo changed course and flew to a far off tree. I watched him in the distant tree for about thirty minutes until he suddenly flew high into the fog and circled above me as if in a gyre. All I could do was watch this aerial display and follow the wings as they stroked the sky like a paddle an ocean. He descended into the tallest Ohia tree at the edge of the forest and I followed, hoping to get a chance to photograph a Pueo in an Ohia.
The Alakai Swamp Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
A Pueo or Hawaiian Short Eared Owl stands in an Ohia tree near the Alakai Swamp and Pihea Trail junction.

An Ohia Lehua flower shines in a brief moment of sunlight on the Alakai Swamp Trail.

Shades of green and a symphony of life can be seen all along the Alakai Swamp Trail.


While walking the Alakai Swamp Trail stay flexible in body and mind. Some steps are bit creative!

Fern Lined PlanksFern Lined PlanksThe Alakai Swamp Trail ends in a zigzag of fern-lined planks before falling off at the Kilohana Vista.
The Alakai Swamp Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
Nearing the Kilohana Vista where an old wooden platform and (most likely) heavy clouds will welcome you.

The Green Way, PleaseThe Green Way, PleaseOn the Alakai Swamp Trail you just have to follow the green that lines the path. It won't lead you wrong.
Tha Alakai Swamp Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

The Way back? This way, please.

A tree fern to unfurl soon.

Relax and Unwind along the Alakai Swamp Trail.

One last look at one of the many interesting little things that you will see along this wonderful trail.

Time to Head HomeTime to Head HomeTime to head home on the straight and narrow path.
Alakai Swamp Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

Time to head home.

***

All photos in this post were taken on April 28, 2020. While on this day I was unable to see Hanalei Bay from the Kilohana Vista I have seen it before-- at sunrise, during the middle of the day and just before sunset, too. If you are going solely for the view, then I would say go as early as possible. But if you are going for the overall feeling of joy, then go whenever the time is right for you. Happy hiking!

Aloha,

Lee 

 

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Alakai Swamp Trail Alakai Wilderness green Hawaii hiking Kauai Kauai flora kauai photography Koke'e State Park landscape nature photography by lee scott https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/5/an-intimate-look-along-the-alakai-swamp-trail Wed, 06 May 2020 02:43:14 GMT
Kauai Lockdown Walks https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/4/kauai-lockdown-walks Where Does this Road End?Where Does this Road End?Since the lockdown began-- and after I self quarantined following my return from Bolivia-- I've been taking long walks up Waimea Canyon Drive. Most every day, and mostly in the evenings, I slip on my sneakers; grab a camera or two and head up the hill. Most days I take my 300mm +1.4 extender (in case I see an owl along the way). I usually pair it with a 70-200 for scenics and clouds. The walks are more about clearing my head than photography. But if it looks to be a good sunset, then I'll take a tripod along just to be ready.
Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii
Where Does this Road End, Waimea, Kauai

Since the lockdown began-- and after I self quarantined following my return from Bolivia-- I've been taking long walks up a local hill. Most every day, and mostly in the evenings I slip on my sneakers; grab a camera or two and head up the hill. Most days I take my 300mm +1.4 extender (in case I see an owl along the way). I usually pair it with a 70-200 for scenics and clouds. The walks are more about clearing my head than photography. But if it looks to be a stellar sunset, then I'll take a tripod along just to be ready. 

Evening Pueo, Waimea, Kauai

Some days I handle the lockdown better than others. On the good days I'm productive: going through images; editing files; writing posts; communicating with clients. On other days I spend too much time watching Netflix. I'm currently watching The Office, Outlander, a drug show on Amazon Prime (I think it's called Zero, and Vida on Hulu. I am also doing a little reading, and think I will dive into some of my old favorites like Desert Solitaire and Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind in the next few days. Naomi and I also complete another Charlie Harper 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. This one was The Mountains of the Pacific Northwest. We have The Desert Mountains of California on backorder with Amazon. It should arrive with cat food first week of May. 

Clouds, Waimea, Kauai

Somedays I feel like I'm stuck in a break up song. Except it's a break up with the world around me. A break up with the nature I love. A breakup with the freedom of movement that I have (perhaps) taken for granted. In a way it's even a breakup with my gallery. I don't go in everyday. The chorus of the song is an abrupt end to old routines replaced with new ones that can so easily lead to anxiety.

An Empty Space, Waimea, Kauai 

This is why the evening walks have become so important to me. The walks, the sweat, the nature, the talks with Naomi keep me sane. Sure, I worry and I fret the politics and economics, but these two hours in the evening help me manage the thoughts, imaginations, and fears. The worries and fears don't disappear, but they diminish in importance when compared to everything natural that is around me.

NiihauNiihauNiihau bathed in cloud filtered evening light. Seen on one of my lockdown walks.
Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii
Niihau, Waimea, Kauai

West SideWest SideKauai, Hawaii West Side Idyllic, Waimea Kauai

What's keeping you sane during the lockdown? What new routine are you adding to your life that helps you stay healthy? What "walks" are you taking? What fears do you have? You are not alone. I am with you. Your neighbors are with you. The world is with you. We are all going through this together. As the soccer anthem sings You Will Never Walk Alone.

The Road Walked, Waimea, Kauai

The Things Seen, Waimea, Kauai

Windblown in the Evening Light, Waimea, Kauai

Stay healthy. Stay positive. And know that we walk together.

Aloha,

Lee

PS-- If  you have any good NETFLIX recommendations let me know! Mahalo :-)

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Kauai Coronavirus Coronavirus in Hawaii Coronavirus on Kauai Hawaii island life Kauai island kauai life Kauai photography nature Waimea https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/4/kauai-lockdown-walks Wed, 22 Apr 2020 18:37:54 GMT
Big Sky and Huckleberry Pie https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/4/big-sky-and-huckleberry-pie I made my first trip to Glacier National Park in the early summer of 2012. June to be exact. I remember the Going to the Sun Road wasn't yet open, so we had to drive the long way around from the west side to the Many Glacier side every time we wanted to hike in the St. Mary's or the Swiftcurrent Lake area. And every drive we made we would always stop and have Huckleberry Pie. My first memories of Montana then, are of big nature, wild animals, and delicious pies.

Light Falls on Lake McDonaldLight Falls on Lake McDonaldLake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana Light Falls on Lake Macdonald, Glacier National Park, Montana (June 2012)

The Beauty of YouthThe Beauty of YouthApgar, Glacier National Park, Montana The Beauty of Youth, Glacier National Park, Montana (June 2016)​​​

***

I've been back a few times since my first trip, once in October 2016, and twice in 2018 (August and September). And believe it or not, I have still to drive the Going toe the Sun Road in its entirety. In August 2018, wild fires closed much of the park and the Going to the Sun Road was inaccessible. Later in 2018, when I visited again in October, a snowstorm closed the entire park and I arrived to 6 inches of snow and a closed gate. I don't think I even had any huckleberry pie on that trip I was in such a hurry to beat the storm. I had visions of waking up in Many Glacier to a scene of fresh fallen snow. But alas, it was nay to be. 

The season's first big snowstorm keeps me at Glacier's gates. Glacier National Park, Montana (October 2018)

***

Glacier will always be special to me for a couple of reasons. One, after that first trip back in 2016 I arrived back home to Kauai and decided that I wanted to be a nature photographer. The nature and sheer wildness of Glacier made such a strong impression on me the I knew what I really wanted to do: get out in nature and take photographs. I now know that I need to communicate-- with camera and lens-- what nature is communicating to me. Sometimes it's the energy in a moose's eye. At others it's the stillness of a lake lying quiet. But it's always the feeling of nature's energy.

Cow Moose at LunchCow Moose at LunchGlacier National Park, Montana Cow Moose at Lunch, Glacier National Park, Montana (October 2016)

Bull MooseBull MooseMany Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana

Bull Moose, Glacier National Park, Montana (October 2016)

***

Another reason I will always remember Glacier National Park is because in 2016 I watched the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the 2016 National League Pennant, and they went on to win the 2016 World Series-- their first title in 108 years (Go Cubs Go! Go Cubs Go! Hey Chicago! What do you say? The Cubs are gonna win today.)!!! It was also the wettest fall on record and we got rained on pretty much every day except one (see the fine day below). But the family dinners complete with beer from The Great Northern Brewing Company and the baseball made up for the cold wet days in the park.

Many Glacier GlassMany Glacier Glass
Many Glacier Glass, Glacier National Park, Montana (October 2016)

A Gentle CurveA Gentle CurveTwo Medicine, Glacier National Park, Montana A Gentle Curve, Glacier National Park, Montana (October 2016)

Hidden by FogHidden by FogGlacier National Park, Montana

Hidden by Fog, Glacier National Park, Montana (October 2016)

***

The third lasting memory that I have of Glacier is that of water and waterfalls. Hikes to Iceberg Lake, Avalanche lake and alongside flowing glacial streams are all a little part of me now. Perhaps it's because I have never driven the Going to the Sun Road, but for me Glacier is more about water than mountains. 

The Icy Blue of Avalanche GorgeThe Icy Blue of Avalanche GorgeAvalanche, Glacier National Park, Montana

The Icy Blue Waters of Avalanche Gorge, Glacier National Park, Montana (October 2016)

Glacial FlowGlacial FlowGlacier National Park, Montana, USA Glacial Flow, Glacier National Park, Montana (October 2016)

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The final memory of Glacier is that of two books: God is Red by Vine Deloria and Grizzly Years by Doug Peacock. I bought God is Red at the St. Mary's visitor center and red it as soon as I returned home. This book has helped me to understand (a little) about the importance of place to spirituality. And Grizzly Years I bought after seeing it in a bookshop in Kalispell or Whitefish. This book has helped me to feel more at home in the vast wildernesses of Earth. And both books have influenced and deepened the respect that I have for the critters with whom we share this beautiful world.

Sit Down With the Boss (Big Horn Sheep)Sit Down With the Boss (Big Horn Sheep)Many Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana A Sit-down with the Boss, Glacier National Park, Montana (October 2016)

A Long and Beautiful FaceA Long and Beautiful FaceMany Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana A Long and Beautiful Face, Glacier National Park, Montana (October 2016)

***

Finito.

Aloha,

Lee

To view more images from Glacier Natioanal Park or to purchase any of the images seen in this blog post, please, click, here. 

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Glacier Glacier National Park Kauai based photographer Montana National Parks nature nature photography travel photography US National Parks virtual travel wild places https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/4/big-sky-and-huckleberry-pie Fri, 17 Apr 2020 01:23:29 GMT
The 5 Most Beautiful Places I Have Ever Been https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/4/the-5-most-beautiful-places-i-have-ever-been Quarantine.

Stay-at-Home Orders.

Travels cancelled or postponed.

This is the time we live in now, but it will not always be like this. 

We will be able to travel again soon, and I'm sure many of you are already planning your next adventure, waiting with fingers crossed for a time when we will be able to get out and play again. Here's a blog post dedicated to those beautiful places that call us to explore. 

***

A few days ago on Instagram I posted a photo of Laguna Colorada in the Bolivian Altiplano, and in the caption I wrote that it was one of the prettiest places that I had ever seen. I thought I could narrow down all the beautiful places that I have been fortunate to visit into a list of the top 5 prettiest places. But at the time I could not, and I ended up with a 5 or 6 way tie for 5th. I know. I wimped out. But I have found the courage to complete the task. Here is my top 5 most beautiful places.

1. Kauai, Hawaii

Kalalau LookoutKalalau CloudsSometimes when I need a little a space and peace i go into nature, set up and camera and just photograph what I see. At times like these it's all about enjoying the moment and receiving Kauai's nurturing energy.
Koke'e Sate Park, Kauai, Hawaii
Kalalau Clouds, Kauai, Hawaii

I start the list with my home island, Kauai. The natural beauty here is simply off the charts. The greens and the blues give a healing quality to the landscape and the energy here just feels good. When thinking of this list the feeling of the places became very important to me. Thinking about how being somewhere makes me feel. And being on Kauai just feels good. I've been all over the island to photograph and I think the most beautiful places are Kalalau Lookout (photo above), Hanalei Bay (below) and Ke'e Beach, looking towards the Na Pali Coast and the dancing waves that at times mosh and at others delicately pirouette.

Hanalei BayA Perfect Day in HanaleiBlue skies and gentle waves at one of my favorite places on island. Yes, it’s another perfect day in Hanalei.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii
A Perfect Day in Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii

Hanalei Bay is the happy place. I don't photograph here too much because it's not a place to work. It's a place to enjoy. It's the place to take a long walk on the beach and figure things out. To sit with wifey and friends with a cooler and towel. To play. To live. To be. 

Hanalei BayDance at the BayThe deluge of April 2018 has passed, and while the bay changed, the ocean still flows and the pier is still there. The light is magical and we follow nature's shifts and changes. We still dance, it's just we know now it is Mother Nature who leads.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii
Dance at the Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

Lastly, if you catch Ke'e beach on the right day this place just gives and gives and gives. The mana or energy is so powerful to be spiritual. I like it best in the fall when you might catch the waves jumping towards the rugged cliffs of the Na Pali Coast. At this time of the year the light is exceptional and the side/through light of the evening can really light up the ocean waves as they rise through the air. 

Napali CoastWhen Conditions Are Right (Wheel of Life)Giant waves jump together with the Napali Coast cascading in distant shadows as a bird flies in the upper right corner, giving life to the scene.
I went to Ke'e on two consecutive evenings. On the first evening I went to photograph what I thought would be an epic day on the north shore. And it was. I got some really good shots that day and wanted to go back again-- not so much to photograph more-- but simply to experience again. To feel the mana and power again. This shot was taken on the second day and, like the first, it was an epic evening on the Na Pali Coast.
Haena State Park, Kauai, Hawaii


Awards
8th Annual International Color Awards Honorable Mention (Professional Nature Category) .
2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Editor's Favorite (Spontaneous Moments Category)

*12"x18" Metal Print SOLD OUT
*16"x24" Metal Print SOLD OUT
When Conditions Are Right, Kauai, Hawaii

Alive, Kauai, Hawaii

***

2. Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Valley in Spring is nature's perfection. Standing at Tunnel View, looking out over the valley and seeing El Capitan on the left, Half Dome in the middle, and Bridal Falls on the right is seeing symphony of symmetry. It is absolutely awe inspiring. 

Dreamworld (Yosemite)Dreamworld (Yosemite)We arrived at the Upper Pines campground around 2 AM following our drive from the San Jose Airport. So we didn't see anything along the way except for some fruit signs in Fresno and wild eyes glittering in the forests as we approached Yosemite Valley from Wawona. After quietly setting up our tent (total stealth mode!) we crawled into our sleeping bags and fell asleep. We awoke later that morning to dreamworld of granite walls, waterfalls, wild animals and so much to explore.
Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, California

Dreamworld was published by National Geographic to the Daily Dozen feature on June 15, 2017. From National Geographic photo Editor Matt Adams, "I love your title for this image, Lee. It definitely feels like a dreamworld that I am looking at. The low hanging clouds really set this landscape image part from ones that might be similar. You captured a great moment here, there's a nice mix of shadows and light that add some interesting layers to this photo."

11th Annual International Color Awards Nominee in the Professional Nature Category.
Dreamworld, Yosemite NP, California

Light enters the valley and plays with the many waterfalls, creating rainbows in the day and moon bows at night.

The Bridal VeilThe Bridal VeilRainbows dance at Bridal Veil Falls.
Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

The Bridal Veil, Yosemite NP, California

Moonbow and Yosemite FallsMoonbow and Yosemite Falls Moonbow Chasing, Yosemite NP, California

 And while Yosemite is certainly no secret, you can still find quiet scenes to have all to yourself. Here, you can contemplate the serenity instilled by the granite walls that are all around you. And in the fall you can appreciate the quiet calm brought by this magnificent local as the Merced runs slow and offers time of reflection. The overall feeling of Yosemite is inspiration. 

Merced Flow Slow in the FallMerced Flow Slow in the FallThe Merced River reflects the beauty of fall in Yosemite NP, California. Merced Run Slow, Yosemite NP, California

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3. Laguna Colorada, the Bolivian Altiplano, Bolivia

Laguna Colorada in Reserve Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, a Bolivian national park very near to the Chilean border, is incredible. It's water is the color of burnt-orange and rust-red. It's full of rare flamingos-- James's, Andean, and Chilean flamingos. And 16,000 foot mountains surround it. Vicunas roam it's shore and play in the valleys that lead to its shallow waters. The feeling of the place is newness, like what the Earth was like when it was new. 

One of the Prettiest Places I Have Ever BeenOne of the Prettiest Places I Have Ever BeenLaguna Colorada is one of the prettiest places I have ever been. I would say that it is right up there with: Kauai, Yosemite Valley, Denali NP and the Cordillera Blanca in Peru.
Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
*2020 ND Awards Honorable Mention-- Nature: Landscape.
One of the Prettiest Places I Have Ever Been, Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

When the Earth was NewWhen the Earth was NewThe Altiplano impresses me to imagine what the Earth may have looked like when it was new. Volcanos active, soil red and ashen, lakes full of color and smells. The Altiplano was like a collision of chemistry and geology and the landscape was fresh and new.
Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
When the Earth was New, Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

The flamingos flying around this lake really helped to put this place on the list. The scenic beauty is incredible, but the flamingos give the place life and a relatable splendor.

Walk on WaterWalk on WaterA James's Flamingo walks on water at the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve in the Southwest corner of the Bolivian Altiplano.
Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Walk on Water, Laguna Colorada, Bolilvia

A James's Flamingo Glides ByA James's Flamingo Glides ByA James's Flamingo strides by in the shallow waters of Laguna Colorada.
Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, Bolivia
Honorable Mention in the 2021 International Color Awards Photo Contest (Professional Wildlife).
James's Flamingo Gliding By, Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

The surrounding area of the Reserve is raw and surreal. The weather volatile. It is a place where you believe that you may find something that you have never yet seen. It is incredibly fresh and new and even a little playful.

Hey ThereHey ThereA vicuna roams the high plateau as storm showers fall in the distance. This is the Altiplano, wild and beautiful.
Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, Bolivia
Hey There, the Altiplano, Bolivia

The AltiplanoThe AltiplanoSometimes I like the unexpected image more than the planned one. Like, on this trip, I had dreamed of photographing the Salar de Uyuni, the near mythical salt flats of Bolivia, flooded and at golden hour with reflection of sky all around me. And while I did that and enjoyed the experience and find the images from those days compelling, I almost like this one more. The unexpected scene that I happened upon at just the right time: blowing storm over the red lake in the distance with just enough sunlight shining onto the colored earth and clouds to make the scene pop. Yes, this image shows the magic of the Altiplano. The unexpectedness of its rugged beauty. The volatility of the land and weather. The little moments of magic that are soon gone forever, unless you have the picture.
Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, Bolivia
*2020 ND Awards Honorable Mention-- Fine Art: Landscape category.
The Altiplano, Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

***

4. Denali National Park, Alaska

A Sunny Summer DayA Sunny Summer DayOver the past two and one half years I have camped at Wonder Lake 12 nights and never seen the mountain full. Even on this trip I didn't see it clearly until changing campsites to Teklanika. Luckily, I was able to drive out to Wonder Lake to get this photo. I actually drove there and back twice on this day, making sure to take advantage of the privilege of the permit and the blessing of the mountain.
Denali National Park, Alaska
A Sunny Summer Day in Denali, Denali National Park, Alaska

Alaska is the wildest place I have ever been and Denali National Park may just be the wildest place in Alaska. Big mountains. Big vistas. Big wildlife. The place is just so wild and awesome. 

Denali Park RoadDenali Park RoadQuintessential Denali-- Grizzly, Park Road and a colorful and rugged landscape inspiring one to explore.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali Park Road, Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali is a park that rewards those who persevere. If you are looking for wildlife, dome days you don't even see a bear's butt. But on other days you see Toklat Blonde Grizzlies, Caribou, Moose, Wolf, Ground Squirrels, Beavers, lynx (I haven't yet seen one in Denali, but I've heard they are there...), snow hare, porcupine, and so much more! And when the weather is clear the mountain views of the Brooks Range are uplifting. I've said before that seeing Denali or the mountain is like seeing God. It makes sense that Denali means "The High One" because seeing it is indeed a spiritual experience. On some days Denali is like a storybook land whose pages are full of nature's gospel. Church.

Alpen GlowAlpen GlowAlpen glow sets on Denali and it's reflection around 11 pm on a summer night. Alpen Glow, Denali National Park, Alaska

Caribou CruisingCaribou CruisingI was driving towards Wonder Lake one evening when I came upon this Caribou just cruising the park road. I love how he is backlit by the warm evening light that brightens the pastels and green of the tundra landscape that surrounded us.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Caribou Crusing, Denali National Park, Alaska

A Look into the HeavensA Look into the HeavensDenali National Park, Alaska

Northern Lights, Denali National Park, Alaska

***​​​​

5. The Santa Cruz Trek, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

To this day the best hike I have ever done is the day hike to Laguna 69 and the best through hike or backpack is the Santa Cruz Trek. Better than the Teton Crest Trail, better than Tombstone and better even than the Kalalau Trail. Here is a glimpse of Laguna 69.

The Magic Triangle of Laguna 69The Magic Triangle of Laguna 69The Laguna 69 Trail along the Santa Cruz Trek in the Cordillera Blanca region of the Peruvian Andes. Laguna 69 is a 4,000 meter high alpine lake that derives it's beautiful blue color from the surrounding glaciers.
Huerez, Peru

The Magic Triangle of Laguna 69, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

And waterfalls that we passed on the way...

laguna 69 trailNature is Awesomethe view along the laguna 69 trail reminds me once again that nature is awesome.
location: santa cruz trek
Nature is Awesome, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

The Santa Cruz trek was a difficult hike with several high altitude passes, the highest of which was Punta Union Pass at 4,750 meters above sea level. Here's a look on a cloudy day from atop the pass (best lunchtime view I've ever had).

Circle of Blue (The View from Atop Punta Union Pass)Circle of Blue (The View from Atop Punta Union Pass)peru 2014-- lima, cusco, machu picchu, huarez, cordillera blanca Circle of Blue, Santa Cruz Trek, Peru

Looking back at the trip now, I realize that this was my first time real experience in a big wilderness area. And now I just want more and more.

***

Mahalo for reading. What's your Top Five? I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below. I'm always looking to add to the list!

Stay well and be safe!

Aloha,

Lee

***

To see more photos of Ke'e Beach and Kauai seascapes, please click here.

To see more photos of Yosemite National Park, please click here.

To see more photos of Laguna Colorada, please click here.

To see more photos of Denali National Park, please click here.

And to see more photos of the Santa Cruz Trek, please visit the Travels gallery here

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Bolivia caribou Denali Denali National Park great hikes grizzly bear Hanalei Bay hawaii hiking Kauai kauai photography Ke'e beach Laguna Colorada nature nature photography Peru Santa Cruz Trek Tunnel View World's most beautiful places Yosemite https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/4/the-5-most-beautiful-places-i-have-ever-been Tue, 14 Apr 2020 20:08:06 GMT
A Few Birds of Hawaii https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/3/a-few-birds-of-hawaii Manu is Hawaiian for bird. And here in Hawaii my favorite birds are the Pueo (Hawaiian Short Eared Owl), Moli (Laysan Albatross), and the Iwa (Great Frigate Bird). You can find these birds-- and more!-- on my home island of Kauai. If you are a birder you'll love Kauai. On your visit be sure to check out the Kilauea Lighthouse, which is a wildlife refuge where you will be sure to find Boobies, Moli (in season), Shearwaters, Petrels, Nene and Iwa. There are also two other bird sanctuaries on Kauai-- one on the north shore and one on the far west side. At these spots you'll likely find a few Hawaiian Ducks, Hawaiian Stilts, lots of Nene and Night Crowned Herons. And don't forget about Koke'e State Park. Here you'll be sure to find the Apapane and, if you're lucky, the I'iwi (Hawaiian Honey Creepers) and several other endemic species. And roosters, you'll see those everywhere. 

Now, let's look at some pictures. 

First, my favorites-- Pueo.

PueoAmakua Pueo!a pueo or hawaiian short-eared owl is known to be an amakua or guardian protector throughout polynesia. i spent three days shooting them one summer while in waimea and found this one to be the most special one.
Kauai, Hawaii
Aumakua Pueo

Pueo Prepares for FlightPueo Prepares for FlightBig Island, Hawaii Pueo Prepares for Flight

Jump!Jump!Big Island, Hawaii Jump!

TeamworkTeamworkA barn owl chills.
Kauai, Hawaii
We have barn owls, too!

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Now, our seasonal friends-- the Moli (Laysan Albatross). I love these birds. They have such beautiful eyes!!!

I Love Their EyesI Love Their EyesKauai, Hawaii Moli

Laysan AlbatrossFreeA layman albatross flies through the deep blue Kauai sky.
Kauai, Hawaii
Free

CourtshipCourtshipKauai, Hawaii Courtship

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And for the arial acrobats, the Iwa.

Great Frigate BirdWings (Fly! Iwa, Fly)Frigate Bird in flight just above the iron wood pines in the early morning light.
Kauai, Hawaii
Wings

The SearchThe SearchKauai, Hawaii Iwa!

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Hawaii's state bird, the Nene.

Nene FlyingNene FlyingKauai, Hawaii Nene, Hawaiian Goose

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And a few boobies...

Red Footed BoobyYo!a red footed booby says hello.
Kauai, Hawaii


Awards
2013 Nature Photo Contest Finalist (Wildlife Category)
Yo!

Little BoobieLittle BoobieKauai, Hawaii Juvi

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And lastly an Apapane

Apapane and PaliApapane and Pali

Apapane and Pali

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To see more of these manu come to Kauai! or click the link here.

Finito.

Aloha,

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) birds hawaii Hawaiian birds Hawaiian Nature iwa kauai kauai photography Laysan Albatross moli nature owl photography by lee scott pueo https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/3/a-few-birds-of-hawaii Tue, 31 Mar 2020 23:10:25 GMT
Low Lying Rest https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/2/low-lying-rest The rains of the day have stopped and it's as if the rays of the sun are pulling the clouds from their low lying rest.


As the earth dries out a landscape that was hidden begins to appear in a mixture of reds, brown and green. 

A Landscape RevealedA Landscape RevealedAs the earth dries out a landscape that was hidden begins to appear in a mixture of reds, browns and greens.
Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai, Hawaii

The mystery of a landscape revealed, and the state of nature's abundance animate the evolving scene.

Energy moves throughout the Canyon as the weather shifts, and I sit and watch the clouds fly by.

Kukui Trail, KauaiMovement in the CanyonSometimes I think that a long exposure photograph conveys the feeling of seeing a scene better than a brief click of the shutter. The experience and movement of the clouds and light as they roam through Waimea Canyon is portrayed in this long exposure image.
Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai, Hawaii

Light and shadow play--like desire and need-- and I try to find a compromise between the two as I point the lens at canyon wall.

The canyon appears to me like a hulking brown bear whose coat of fur is drying slowly in the evening light.

Light and Crimson ShadowLight and Crimson ShadowLight and shadow play--like desire and need. I try to find a compromise between the two and point the lens at canyon wall and see that the canyon appears like a hulking brown bear whose coat of fur is drying slowly in the evening light.
Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai, Hawaii
The sun has set behind me-- behind the ridge-- and the canyon goes dark while the rising clouds hold the light, still. 

Finally dusk falls over the entire scene, but the clouds still swirl and throw a little light as they stir.

In the blue hour I take one last look before walking away from a landscape I love.

Aloha,

Lee

 

All photographs in this post were taken on the afternoon/evening of February 1, 2020.

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) canyon hawaii kauai kauai photography Lee Scott nature Waimea Canyon Waimea Canyon photography Waimea Canyon State Park wild places https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2020/2/low-lying-rest Fri, 28 Feb 2020 22:46:49 GMT
My Favorite 19 from 2019-- Part 3 https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/12/my-favorite-19-from-2019---part-3 Mahalo for sticking with me as I countdown my favorite 19 images from 2019. This year on Kauai I spent a lot of time in the water, photographing empty waves and surfers with my new SPL Waterhousing. Off island I made two trips to California, visiting first, the Sonoma Coast and Point Reyes National Seashore; and then Yosemite National Park and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest later in the year. My now annual trip to Alaska took me to Katmai National Park for the second year in a row and to Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward for the first time. The top 6 will have a few from the water and a few from these trips, for sure. 

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#6. There's So Much to Like, Kealia Beach, Kauai. February 21, 2019 

Kealia BeachThere's So Much to LikeThere's so much that I like in this photo: the clouds, the crashing ocean, and the back lit waves of emerald green.
Kealia Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Canon 1DX II, Canon 300mm @ f/2.8, 1/3200 sec. ISO 250

On a good day Kealia can be one of the most beautiful places on the island. So what makes a good day here? Well, for surf, you want no trades or slightly variable winds. Unless there are very heavy clouds you'll almost always get the waves back lit, causing the water to shine like an emerald or a delicious granny smith. There's so much to like about nature. The way it can inspire us or calm us. Heal us or even provide us a place to play. 

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#5. Carving Glass, Poipu, Kauai, May 27, 2019

Canon 1DX II, Canon 70-200mm @ 200, f/6.3, 1/2500 sec, ISO 200. SPL Waterhousing

This photo of surfer Keakaikauai is so special to me. First, this was an epic day in the water. Probably my first real good day of photographing surfers. The conditions were excellent. The surfers incredibly talented, extremely generous, and patient with my presence. The lineup wasn't too crowded and everyone was sharing waves. Bethany Hamilton was even in the water just rippin'! Yes, it was an awesome day, but I did have to suffer for this photo. You see there was a negative low tide on this day. And to get to the surf break I have to swim about 200 yards or so. Even on a medium to high tide there are a few shallow areas and a notorious "rock pile" that you navigate your way around, but on this day I had to literally walk over the rock pile as there were just a few inches of water between my belly and the reef. So walk I did. With fins. Not easy. I stumbled and stumbled and stumbled again. I fell on vanna (sea urchin), and the thing just stuck into my right butt cheek. I was pulling out needles and scratching the venom all session long. The wound took about two full weeks to heal, but I got this shot and enjoyed a wonderful day in the ocean with my camera and lens. Something that, before this year, was just not possible.

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#4. Dawn Dance, Katmai National Park, Alaska. July 6, 2019 

Dawn DanceDawn DanceKatmai National Park, Alaska. 2019

Canon 1DX II, Canon 300mm, f/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO 2000

#3. Young Wolf, Katmai National Park, Alaska. July 6, 2019

Young WolfYoung WolfKatmai National Park, Alaska. 2019
*Top 100 Finalist in Nature's Best Photography National Park Photo Contest 2019.
**2020 ND Awards Honorable Mention-- Nature: Wildlife category.
Canon 1DX II, Canon 300mm, 1.4 EXT III, f/4, 1/1000 sec, ISO 2000

Numbers Four (Dawn Dance) and Three (Young Wolf) were taken on the same day. Same morning. Thirty-Two minutes apart. 5:22 AM (bear) and 5:54 AM (wolf). What a morning of photography!!! I chose to get up early to look for the wolf, which I saw a few days earlier (before I went backpacking into the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and from where I had just returned). Instead of taking the trail directly to Brooks River I decided to walk the beach and see if any bears were visible. And sure enough, there was one. The soft light of dawn reflected off of Naknek Lake, filling the lens with pinks and blues. I love the graceful step in the soft dawn light of this giant brown bear. Blessed with this sighting, I then went on to the river-viewing area and where I sat up my gear and waited, hoping for another wolf sighting. After a few minutes, the young wolf came out, cautiously steping through the shallow waters of the Brooks River. The wolf walked from one area of tall grass to another until it swam to this little island. The gaze of the wolf was arresting. Eyes alight with life-- hunger and curiosity. I love this photo. The texture of the grass, the drops of dew ,and those young wolf eyes. These photos are why I dream of Katmai all year long. 

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#2. Flexibility in Body and Mind, Poipu, Kauai, September 27, 2019

Canon 1DX II, Canon 70-200mm @ 110, f/6.3, 1/2500 sec, ISO 250. SPL Waterhousing

When I evaluate a wildlife photograph it's all about the eyes. That look of expression, wisdom, emotion, concentration, playfulness, intensity, life. I believe all of these qualities are seen in the eyes. If it's there you know it. And if it's there it's, then it's usually a great photograph. That's why I like this photo of local Kauai surfer Kyle Ramey so much. Yes, the wave is nice. The action is there. The splash of water, too, gives it a sense of realness and intimacy. But what makes me really feel the photograph is the look in Kyle's eyes, and the emotion and energy that those eyes share. Kyle is so focused on the experience of riding this wave that nothing else in the world (at this moment) matters. He is totally in a state of FLOW, and I am so stoked to have been able to photograph this moment of skillful/playful zen. One with the water. One with the wave. One with mother mother ocean. Yes, as my favorites move along so too my prose takes on a purple pace. Mahalo Kyle for gracing my camera with this fantastic moment. Aloha!

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#1. Transformation, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. July 15, 2019

TransformationTransformationBear Glacier Lagoon, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska Canon 1DX II, Canon 70-200mm @ 75mm, f/7.1, 1/320 sec, ISO 200

When the rain stopped, the lagoon glassed out and perfectly reflected the glacial ice that had calved off of Bear Glacier some 4 miles away. The icebergs cracked and popped as I glided by in the kayak. It was as if the ice was alive. Other sounds that I heard were the distant waves, the birds, my paddle, and the thunder of these icebergs, breaking. That was a scary sound. Thunder through the silence. A portent of the dangers to come.

The solitude was profound. I had a lot of time to think about what we are doing to the earth. I could see the effects of climate change right in front of my eyes. Often what I photographed in the morning was either gone or completely transformed by the afternoon. And after a week of near 90 degree weather and smoke filling the Alaskan skies, climate change became very real to me.  It was an incredible experience, and it impressed upon me the need to fight global warming. To physically feel the difference of being near to a glacier and it's cooling qualities was startling. The water that poured off my paddle froze my hands. The temperature difference on the lagoon and at camp was striking. The experience added a physical understanding to the intellectual. The need to lower the earth's temperature-- to combat climate change-- became mind-blowingly obvious. 

2.7 degrees Fahrenheit is the current goal. To lower the temperature of the earth 2.7 degrees. If we consider the earth to be a living organism then just think how much a difference of 2.7 degrees would make. Think of us. As humans, when we have a high temperature, lowering it 2.7 degrees can mean the difference between severe illness and recovery. So, too, for the earth. Let us work to lower the temperature 2.7 degrees. Glacial melt will slow and future generations will have an opportunity to live on a healthy planet full of nourishment and beauty.


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I look forward to sharing my photography with you in 2020. I'll have more images from Kauai, and a few from abroad as photography trips to Bolivia, Peru, Scotland, and Ireland are on the books. So stay tuned....

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and mahalo for taking the time to read these blogs and view these photographs.

To see a slideshow of the images contained within this 3 part blog, please, click here. 

Have a  good one.

Aloha,

Lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Alaska hawaii Katmai National Park kauai Kenai Fjords National Park nature surf surfers surfing https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/12/my-favorite-19-from-2019---part-3 Wed, 18 Dec 2019 05:44:19 GMT
My Favorite 19 from 2019-- Part 2 https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/12/my-favorite-19-from-2019---part-2 I am counting down my favorite 19 images from 2019. Part one had a few photographs from home and a few from adventures away. Part two will be more of the same. I hope you enjoy the images. 

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#13. Hanakapi'ai Beach and the Kalalau Trail, Na Pali Wilderness, Kauai. August 25, 2019

Kalalau TrailHanakapi'ai Beach and the Kalalau TrailA look down the Na Pali Coast from along the Kalalau Trail is a view that many of us are the better for having. The little stretch of sand that you see in the middle of the frame is Hanakapi'ai Beach.
Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
Canon 1 DX II, Canon 24-70 @ 24mm, f/5.0 @ 1/160 sec. ISO 125

I like this photograph not so much for the photo itself, but for what it represents: the road to Ha'ena and Ke'e is open! The Kalalau Trail is open! You see, following the historic floods of April 2017 the road beyond Hanalei was closed for repair. And it finally opened summer this year. Finally! This view is iconic Na Pali Coast-- leafy, green, rugged and wild. If you plan on going to Kalalalu or to Ha'ena State Park, even, please get a permit online. You will need a permit to access the park and a permit to park (if you plan on driving). Together we can keep this area verdant and wild and enjoyable for all. 

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#12. A Saltwater Abstract, Centers, Poipu, Kauai. September 1, 2019

A Saltwater AbstractA Saltwater AbstractKauai, Hawaii

Canon 1 DX II, Canon 16-35 @ 16mm, f/6.3 @ 1/2000 sec. ISO 640. SPL Waterhousing

Sometimes getting tossed around underneath a wave is totally worth it. This is one of those occasions. Clean, Poipu blue water and a fast shutter can make for interesting abstracts. I like this one because of all the different elements: sky, wave, reef, energy, the tumult of it all. 

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#11. Colors and Curve, Secrets Beach, Kauai. May 30, 2019

Kauai waveColors and CurveA wave curls and breaks onto an exposed lava shelf and I am standing right there to catch it just before is washes over me.
Secrets Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Canon 1 DX II, Canon 16-35 @ 34mm, f/7.1 @ 1/2000 sec. ISO 100. SPL Waterhousing

A wave rolls onto shore as if it were a ribbon flipped by a child. The colors of sand mixed with water, the curve and loud splash are a aspects of a Secrets wave. This beach is so dynamic. Every time I go it's different. The shore break is heavy and intense. But when the conditions are right the surf break here can be a sweet ride. 

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#10. Kuio Young at Acid Drop, Poipu, Kauai. September 27, 2019

Canon 1 DX II, Canon 70-200 @ 100mm, f/6.3 @ 1/2500 sec. ISO 200

This was an epic day at Acid Drop. The biggest surf that I have ever photographed from the water. And what a day it was! Glassy, ideal swell, BIG waves and a great group of surfers rippin' all morning long. Here, Kuio Young, pumps in front of a draining wave, that looks like it's gonna eat him up. The shades of blue-- especially the turquoise-- contrasts nicely with his yellow board. Such great memories of this day and you'll see another photo from this epic session a little later in the countdown. Stay tuned....

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#9. Tree Hugger, Katmai National Park Alaska. July 8, 2019

Tree HuggerTree HuggerKatmai National Park, Alaska. 2019

Canon 1 DX II, Canon 300 +1.4 ext III @ 420, f/4, 1/1000 ISO 1000

I've always heard that while brown bears can climb trees, they never do. Well, I'm here to tell you they do! Here's a beautiful momma bear climbing a tree to get her two spring cubs down. At first she barked at them from below, but after they refused to come down she decided to go up. This July saw record heat all throughout Alaska and Katmai NP was no exception. Each day seemed hotter than the previous one and the animals (and humans) were suffering. I think that's why this momma bear treed her cubs for such prolonged periods. It was easier to protect them up a tree than have them on the lakeshore with her. This photo was taken just outside the campground at Brooks Camp. Katmai NP is my favorite park and a few more photos from this trip made this list of 19. Absolutely the funnest park ever. 

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#8. Teddy Bear Be Humble, Katmai National Park, Alaska. July 5, 2019

Teddy Bear Be HumbleTeddy Bear Be HumbleKatmai National Park, Alaska. 2019

Canon 1 DX II, Canon 300mm, f/4.0 @ 1/1000. ISO 1600

This sweet brown bear cub was so cute! He was always eating in the high grass and cupping his paws as if making a blessing. Humble little bear. Scenes like these keep me dreaming of Katmai NP all year long.

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#7. Shifting Moods, Kilauea, Kauai. February 19, 2019

KauaiShifting MoodsA strong north swell rushes onto the exposed lava shelf and drains into the dried lava tube of Mokolea Point as daybreak splits the Sky.
Kauai, Hawaii

*Shifting Moods was named a National Geographic Editor's Favorite.
**2020 International Color Awards Nominee Professional Landscape Category.
Canon 5DS R, Zeis 21mm Milvus, f/11 @ 1.3 sec. ISO 250. LEE graduated ND filters and LEE Polarizer

The long, silky flow of ocean-- like cream -- over an exposed north shore lava shelf in winter. Day break gentle in a divided sky. High risk high return photography can produce some of the best results. This one keeps bringing me back.

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Next up #1 ~ #6. Stay tuned for Part 3...

Aloha,

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Alaska bears brown bears Katmai National Park Kauai Kauai photography nauture Photography wildlife https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/12/my-favorite-19-from-2019---part-2 Wed, 11 Dec 2019 23:10:10 GMT
My Favorite 19 from 2019-- Part 1 https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/12/my-favorite-19-from-2019---part-1 It's that time of year again. Time to look back at the year that was, the places we visited and things we have seen. Best of lists and Top Tens full of nostalgia and memories. I'll give you my favorites, but I'll cheat a little. So instead of ten I'll give you 19 of my favorite (not necessarily my best) images from the past year. I know it's always a dangerous to ask a photographer their favorites (and trust me, a photographer's favorites are never the most popular with their clients), but it's fun to go back and look at a year in photographs. See what I was up to. What challenges I was working through and see the results of the places where I chose to be. So without further adieu let the countdown begin!

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19. Be Good to the Earth (The Wisest Trashcan I Have Ever Seen), Seward, Alaska. July 17, 2019

Be Good to the Earth (The Wisest Trashcan I Have Ever Seen)Be Good to the Earth (The Wisest Trashcan I Have Ever Seen)This trashcan was right outside my campsite in Seward, AK where I camped for several nights while exploring Kenai Fjords National Park. I just love the message: Be Good to the Earth. The opposite side said: "Be Good to People". And a third side read: Go places. Have Fun. Be Nice. I mean, really. The wisest trashcan ever. Now, to go back to the message depicted in the photograph-- Be Good to the Earth. This was especially poignant as much of my Alaska trip was made in record heat and smoke from no fewer than 8 major fires all across the state. I spent smokey days in Katmai, baking from the days spent under the midnight sun. So yeh, be good to the earth. Protect her. Limit our carbon footprint. Make a positive change and accept our responsibility and influence. Seek out ways that we can help to lower the earth's temperature and reverse the worrying trend of climate change.
Seward, Alaska

Canon 5DS R, Canon 70-200 II @ 70mm, f/2.8 @ 1/3200 sec. ISO 200

This trashcan was right outside my campsite in Seward, AK where I camped for several nights while exploring Kenai Fjords National Park. I just love the message: Be Good to the Earth. The opposite side said: "Be Good to People". And a third side read: Go places. Have Fun. Be Nice. I mean, really. The wisest trashcan ever. Now, to go back to the message depicted in the photograph-- Be Good to the Earth. This was especially poignant as much of my Alaska trip was made in record heat and smoke from no fewer than 8 major fires all across the state. I spent smokey days in Katmai, baking from the days spent under the midnight sun. So yeh, be good to the earth. Protect her. Limit our carbon footprint. Make a positive change and accept our responsibility and influence. Seek out ways that we can help to lower the earth's temperature and reverse the worrying trend of climate change. 

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18. Peering Into the Night Sky, Hanalei Bay, Kauai. August 30, 2019

Hanalei Bay night skyPeering into the Night SkyI try for one night sky photograph a summer. And in 2019 I got clouded out on my first attempts in June. I was traveling in July so that left the days before and after the new moon in August as my last real chance for a starry night photograph. Luckily, clear skies welcomed the new moon in late August and I was able to take this photograph at Hanalei Bay. I painted the pier with light with my headlamp, and might have upset some fishermen while doing so. Because they decided to shine their lights back towards me. After this happened I decided to pack it up and go home. It was late anyway (about 1:30 AM) and I was getting sleepy.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

Canon 1 DX II, Canon 16-35 III @ 16mm, f/2.8 @ 30 sec. ISO 2000

I try for one night sky photograph a summer. And in 2019 I got clouded out on my first attempts in June. I was traveling in July so that left the days before and after the new moon in August as my last real chance for a starry night photograph. Luckily, clear skies welcomed the new moon in late August and I was able to take this photograph at Hanalei Bay. I painted the pier with light with my headlamp, and might have upset some fishermen while doing so. Because they decided to shine their lights back towards me. This is what that looked like...

After this happened I decided to pack it up and go home. It was late anyway (about 1:30 AM) and I was getting sleepy.

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17. Sky Burn in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Katmai National Park Alaska. July 7, 2019

Sky Burn in the Valley of Ten Thousand SmokesSky Burn in the Valley of Ten Thousand SmokesThis photograph was taken about 10 feet from my tent, which was set up just below this sand dune in between to streams of icy cold snowmelt. I hiked into the valley on the hottest day in Alaska's recorded weather history. I swear it was 90 in the shade and 100 in the sun. Easily. I photographed from 4 AM to 6:30 or 7 AM then ate breakfast and hid in the tent from the unrelenting sun and smoke. It was definitely a backpack that I wouldn't want to repeat, but a location that I would like to revisit. Maybe in the fall, perhaps? It would be nice to see these mountains again and hear the soft thud of boot falling into the ash of the valley. Nostalgia. It's a dangerous thing.
Katmai National Park, Alaska. 2019
Canon 5DS R, Canon 16-35 @ 16mm, f/13 @ 2.5 sec. ISO 100

This photograph was taken about 10 feet from my tent, which was set up just below this sand dune in between to streams of icy cold snowmelt. I hiked into the valley on the hottest day in Alaska's recorded weather history. I swear it was 90 in the shade and 100 in the sun. Easily. I photographed from 4 AM to 6:30 or 7 AM then ate breakfast and hid in the tent from the unrelenting sun and smoke. It was definitely a  backpack that I wouldn't want to repeat, but a location that I would like to revisit. Maybe in the fall, perhaps? It would be nice to see these mountains again and hear the soft thud of boot falling into the ash of the valley. Nostalgia. It's a dangerous thing. 

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16. Meadow and Patch of Snow, Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, July 19, 2019.

Meadow and Patch of SnowMeadow and Patch of SnowI like the green. I like the pink fireweed. I like the rolling slope of the mountain. And the little patch of snow to remind me of the elevation and the northern clime. This is Alaska in the summer. Colorful, verdant, wild, full of adventure, and ready to be explored.
Harding Ice Field Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Canon 5DS R, Canon 16-35 @ 20mm, f/6.3 @  1/400 sec. ISO 200

I like the green. I like the pink fireweed. I like the rolling slope of the mountain. And the little patch of snow to remind me of the elevation and the northern clime. This is Alaska in the summer. Colorful, verdant, wild, full of adventure, and ready to be explored.  

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15. Shangri- La, Tunnels Beach, Kauai, August 8, 2019

Tunnels Beach, KauaiShangri-laAnother pretty blue and green one. This is pure Kauai magic at its best. One reason this one made my list of favorites is because I imagined this shot beforeI bought my SPL water housing and I was able to make it happen after a summer of swimming around the Kauai surf. I call this one Shangri-La because of the supernatural nature of Makana seemingly floating above the ocean. I like, too, how the sky and ocean share the same blue, the same cooling, inviting hue. Yes, I'm happy to have this in the collection. And blessed to have the health to make an image like this one happen.
Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Canon 1 DX II, Canon 16-35 @ 16mm, f/5.6 @ 1/800 sec. ISO 100, SPL Waterhousing

Another pretty blue and green one. This is pure Kauai magic at its best. One reason this one made my list of favorites is because I imagined this shot before I bought my SPL water housing and I was able to make it happen after a summer of swimming around the Kauai surf. I call this one Shangri-La because of the supernatural nature of Makana seemingly floating above the ocean. I like, too, how the sky and ocean share the same blue, the same cooling, inviting hue. Yes, I'm happy to have this in the collection. And blessed to have the health to make an image like this one happen.

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14. Pastels and Granite, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park, California, October 17, 2019

Pastels and GranitePastels and GraniteYosemite Valley is one of the most beautiful places that I have been. The granite walls tower above the surrounding trails, with Half Dome and El Capitan commanding your view at the South and North ends of the Valley. This photograph was taken on top of Sentinel Dome and looks toward Half Dome and "Little Yosemite Valley" towards the Tioga Road and Bishop in the far, far distance. This is the scene at dusk. I also hiked up here for sunrise on the same day, but found the light at dusk to softer and more manageable. I like how the soft pastels of the sky and clouds contrast with the hard granite that Yosemite is known for. Yes, Yosemite is one of the prettiest places on Earth.
Yosemite NP, California
Canon 5 DS R, Canon 16-35 @ 28mm, f/16 @ 8 sec. ISO 100

Yosemite Valley is one of the most beautiful places that I have been. The granite walls tower above the surrounding trails, with Half Dome and El Capitan commanding your view at the South and North ends of the Valley. This photograph was taken on top of Sentinel Dome and looks toward Half Dome and "Little Yosemite Valley" towards the Tioga Road and Bishop in the far, far distance. This is the scene at dusk. I also hiked up here for sunrise on the same day, but found the light at dusk to softer and more manageable. I like how the soft pastels of the sky and clouds contrast with the hard granite that Yosemite is known for. Yes, Yosemite is one of the prettiest places on Earth.

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Part 2 coming soon....

Aloha,

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Adventure photography adventures AK" Alaska California Hanalei Hanalei Bay hawaii Kauai Kenai Fjords National Park nature photography by lee scott Seward Tunnels Tunnels Beach Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes Yosemite https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/12/my-favorite-19-from-2019---part-1 Sat, 07 Dec 2019 21:11:29 GMT
My Favorite Walk in Poipu-- The Heritage Trail https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/11/my-favorite-poipu-walk---the-heritage-trail The Heritage Trail from Shipwrecks Beach in Poipu to Mahaulepu beach and beyond is my favorite walk on Kauai's south side. Here are 10 photos from this wonderful shoreline trail.

LemuriaLemuria Lemuria (The Past Holds Secrets of the Present)

 

1010 Along the Golf Course!?!

 

The Last Hawaiian WarriorThe Last Hawaiian WarriorA long exposure reveals the calming blues of an overcast sky and glassy seas agains the rugged coastline of Kauai's south shore. The Last Hawaiian Warrior

 

1616

Time Run Slow and Tide Run Low

 

88

A Splash of Rainbow

 

South Shore Sunrise

 

2727 Misty Sunrise Beyond Exposed Reef

 

2929

A Curl at the Nose

 

3333 I Think I'll Stop Here

 

3434 ​​​Looking Back on the Heritage Trail

 

Finito...

Aloha, 

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii hiking kauai kauai photography landscape Mahulepu Beach nature photography by lee scott Poipu sky South Shore Kauai The Heritage Trail https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/11/my-favorite-poipu-walk---the-heritage-trail Tue, 12 Nov 2019 05:51:35 GMT
Secrets Beach (Kauapea Beach), Kauai (Version 2.0) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/10/secrets-beach-kauapea-beach-kauai-version-2-0 I had so much fun going through past images of Secrets trying to put together a month by month calendar that I thought I would do one more. So here are another 12 images-- each taken in the month they represent-- from Secrets AKA Secrets Beach AKA Kauapea Beach (FYI-- everyone I know, myself included, just call the place Secrets).

Remember the ground rules for the "calendar":

  1. Each photograph must come from the month it represents. For example, January's photo must have been taken in January, etc....
  2. The photographs as a whole must represent different aspects of this awesome beach. Lava shelf, rocks, waves, lighthouse, etc..
  3. Different times of day-- morning and evening-- and at different times of year must be included to show how the light changes throughout the year.
  4. If possible, show the various changes that also come with Kauai's different season.
  5. The photos must be less well known, deep cuts from the portfolio, if you will.

Alright! Here we go-- Secrets Shared, version 2.0

Shaped by the Sea

January 4, 2017

Shades of Secret Green and Blue

February 1, 2015

Lost and Ok With ItLost and Ok With ItSecrets, Kauai Lost (And OK With It)

March 4, 2017

Secret Getaway

April 4, 2019

Sunset Fishing

May 2, 2015

The MysteryThe MysteryThe ocean surf washes around a large lava rock at sunset at Secrets Beach, Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii.

The Mystery

June 16, 2019

soft shades of secretssoft shades of secrets Soft Shades of Secrets

July 1, 2012

Fire

August 3, 2019

double rainbow on a moonday morningdouble rainbow on a moonday morningsecrets sunrise

Double Rainbow on a Moon Day Morning

September 15, 2012

​​​ Big Wave FallBig Wave FallA green apple wave falls into the white water at Secrets Beach, Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii. Big Wave Fall

October 8, 2016

A Moody Morning

November 4, 2017

A Full Moon and an Ocean Waiting to Catch It

December 6, 2014

 

Aloha,

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii kauai kauai photography nature north shore photography by lee scott secrets secrets beach secrets beach kauai https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/10/secrets-beach-kauapea-beach-kauai-version-2-0 Thu, 10 Oct 2019 20:28:20 GMT
Secrets Shared-- A Photo from Each Month at Kauapea (Secrets) Beach, Kauai https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/9/secrets-shared---one-photo-from-each-month-at-secrets-beach-kauai Secrets is my most favorite beach in the world. It's a location that I find myself photographing often. So often that I began to joke that I should make a book from all the photos that I've taken at Secrets. I even came up with a name-- Secrets Revealed. But it's not really a secret location so I wouldn't be revealing anything hidden or unknown so I came up with another title-- Secrets Shared.  And instead of a book I'll start with a calendar.

But not just any ol random collection of 12 favorites taken at Secrets Beach. No, sir. I wantedI 12 images from each month so each photograph would represent  the month in which they were taken as well as the month being displayed. So the calendar page for January must have a photo that was taken in January. February's photograph must have been taken in February and so on. Another criteria for Secrets Shared was that-- taken together-- the photos must show different aspects of this awesome beach-- rocks, lava shelf, beach, morning light, evening light, waves and lighthouse. And lastly, I wanted to include images that were not as well known as some of my other, more recognizable photographs from Secrets. So you will not find standouts like Stillness and Motion, Cotton Candy Waves, Rhythm of the Wave, and Sunset this Way. For those images turn to the gallery Oceans of Light. Instead you'll find some deep cuts. Images old and new that, I hope, you'll find both interesting and pleasing. For me, each image embodies the beauty and free-flowing energy of this awesome place. 

1.20.17-- Land of Milk and Honey1.20.17-- Land of Milk and Honey

Land of Milk and Honey

January 29, 2017

***

2.1.15-- Green Rocks in the Soft Winter Light2.1.15-- Green Rocks in the Soft Winter Light Green Rocks in the Soft Winter Light

February 1, 2015

***

3.15.16-- Whoosh!3.15.16-- Whoosh! Wooosh!

March 15,2016

***

4.17.19-- Aloha Friday4.17.19-- Aloha Friday Aloha Friday

April 17, 2019

***

Secrets BlueSecrets Blue Secrets Blue

May 12, 2019

***

6.11.17-- Wild Summer6.11.17-- Wild Summer Wild Summer

June 11, 2017

***

8.6.19-- Morning Reflections8.6.19-- Morning Reflections Reflections at Sunrise

August 6, 2019

***

9.6.15-- Visiting an Old Friend9.6.15-- Visiting an Old Friend Visiting an Old Friend (pt. 2)

September 6, 2015

***

10.30.13-- Layers of Light and Waves Like Snow10.30.13-- Layers of Light and Waves Like SnowA long exposure at Secrets Beach sees the beacon flash and the silhouette of the Kilauea lighthouse under a pink dawn sky. Layers of Light and Waves Like Snow

October 30, 2013

***

11.28.12-- Full Moon Set11.28.12-- Full Moon Set Full Moon Set

November 28, 2012

***

12.5.18-- Winter Roll (Let it Roll)12.5.18-- Winter Roll (Let it Roll)

Winter Roll (Let it Roll)

December 5, 2018

***

To view these photos as a slideshow please click here.

Aloha, 

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) adventure beach beaches best beaches Hawaii Island Kauai kauai photography Kauapea Kauapea Beach landscape nature nature photography north shore outdoors photography by lee scott scenic seascape Secrets Secrets Beach sunset tropical USA waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/9/secrets-shared---one-photo-from-each-month-at-secrets-beach-kauai Wed, 25 Sep 2019 22:49:19 GMT
The Surreal Planet: Bear Glacier Lagoon, Alaska https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/8/the-surreal-planet-bear-glacier-lagoon-alaska TransformationTransformationBear Glacier Lagoon, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

The most surreal experience I've had as a photographer to date was kayaking around the glacial icebergs of Bear Glacier Lagoon in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

I booked a water taxi with Louis at Alaskan Coastal Safari and he set up a kayak and dry suit rental with Ron from Backcountry Safaris. The water taxi was scheduled with the high tide and after about a 45 minute ride across Resurrection Bay I was dropped off on an empty beach. I set a GPS waypoint and then proceeded to hike to Ron's basecamp and kayak cache. After about a mile or so I saw the kayaks and met Ron and his black lab at their basecamp on the hill. Ron is a very kind and knowledgeable man and he hooked me up with a red kayak and other essential gear. I then made camp on an island in the lagoon and stared in wonder at the world around me.

The view from camp was often obscured by heavy clouds full of rain, but in the moments between the near constant coastal showers I was blessed with a surreal scene of great Alaskan beauty.

When the rain stopped, the lagoon glassed out and perfectly reflected the glacial ice that had broken off of Bear Glacier-- 4 miles away. The icebergs cracked and popped as I glided by in the kayak. It was as if the ice was alive. Other sounds that I heard were the distant waves, the birds, my paddle, and the thunder of the icebergs breaking. That was a scary sound. Thunder through the silence. A portent of the dangers to come.

I didn't see another person-- other than Ron-- for the three days I was out there. The solitude was profound. I had a lot of time to think about what we are doing to the earth. I could see the effects of climate change right in front of my eyes. Often what I photographed in the morning was either gone or completely transformed by the afternoon. And after a week of near 90 degree weather and smokey skies that covered most of the entire state, climate change became very real to me.  It was an incredible experience, and it impressed upon me the need to fight global warming. To physically feel the difference of being near to a glacier and it's cooling qualities was startling. The water that poured off my paddle froze my hands. The temperature difference on the lagoon and at camp was striking. The experience added a physical understanding to the intellectual. The need to lower the earth's temperature, to combat climate change became mind-glowingly obvious.

2.7 degrees Fahrenheit is the current goal. To lower the temperature of the earth 2.7 degrees. If we consider the earth to be a living organism then just think how much a difference 2.7 degrees would make. Think of us. As humans, when we have a high temperature lowering it 2.7 degrees can mean the difference between severe illness and recovery. So too for the earth. Just work to lower the temperature 2.7 degrees and glacial melt will slow. Future generations will have an opportunity to live on a healthy planet full of nourishment and beauty.

To see more images from Bear Glacier Lagoon, please view the online gallery Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

If you have any questions about this awesome adventure-- outfitters, logistics, gear, etc...-- please contact me via the comments section below. Mahalo!

A quick note on the camera set up that I used while kayaking-- Because it rained almost constantly while I was on the lagoon I used my Canon 1 DX Mark II, exclusively. While I packed my Canon 5 DSR I never used it for fear of water damage. Likewise, the 16-35 wide angle lens was difficult to use because of rain and spray constantly getting onto the lens. For this reason I used a 70-200 with it's long lens hood for the majority of this three-day, kayaking adventure. 

 

Thanks for reading.

Aloha,

Lee

Click here to see more of Bear Glacier Lagoon and Kenai Fjords National Park

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) adventure alaska alaskan coastal safari backcountry backcountry safaris bear glacier bear glacier lagoon glacial icebergs kayak kayak adventure kayak camping kenai fjords national park national parks photography by lee scott seward surreal planet us national parks water taxi https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/8/the-surreal-planet-bear-glacier-lagoon-alaska Sat, 24 Aug 2019 22:05:37 GMT
The Teton Crest Trail https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/6/the-teton-crest-trail The Teton Crest Trail has been called the best backpacking adventure in North America. I first heard about it several years ago when researching Teton NP hikes in a Falcon guide book. The description of the trek was so glowing that I decided-- then and there-- that I was going to do the hike. I just didn't know when.

When I began planning my long trip of 2018 I knew that I had to find the time to hike the Teton Crest Trail. The only problem was, I couldn't get a permit for any dates earlier than late September. This would be pushing the weather a bit, but I decided to get the permits for the earliest dates that I could. I would just wait and see what the weather would bring. I promised myself that if there was no snow, then I would go. 

I arrived in the Tetons towards the end of August. Although the Grand received first snow on August 28th, warm, dry days and cold nights continued all the way until the end of September. Luckily, I had great weather for the hike. All 37 miles and 6 days were enjoyed without rain ,and just a little snow at Holly Lake on the afternoon and night of Day 5.

The Teton Crest Trail is one of the few backpacks that I would absolutely do again. Day 3-- Death Canyon Shelf to Cascade Canyon South Fork-- was one of the best days of hiking I have ever done. It's definitely top three all-time. Right up there with Laguna 69 in Peru and the Kalalau Trail on Kauai. All three treks are highly recommended. 

Below are a few photos from the spectacular Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

String LakeString LakeA tranquil String Lake reflects the tree filled granite mountains of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
String Lake, GTNP, Wyoming

I left my truck at the Leigh Lake/String Lake Trailhead and Picnic Area. I then walked to the main road where I dropped pack and hitched a ride. I waited for about 45 minutes before a kind, local woman and her cute, little dog stopped to pick me up. I threw my pack in the back of her Subaru and hopped in the front seat with a smile on my face. We talked story about Kauai and the Kalalau Trail and she gave me advice on the Teton Crest. She said, "If it feels wrong it is". She continued, "The energy up there in the mountains is so good. Trust yourself and the guidance she (nature? the Grand?) gives."

Teton Crest TrailTeton Crest Trail Day 1-- Hiking towards Marion Lake

I took the tram from the Jackson Hole ski resort to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, and began the hike around 1pm. That's late for me, but with the logistics of "park and hitch", there was very little I could do to start earlier. The tram was killer and it saved a ton of time (and about 3,000 feet of climbing!). It's was expensive ($40), but totally worth it. The first day of hiking wasn't that memorable, other than it was good to finally get started. 

Teton Crest TrailTeton Crest Trail Day 2-- Sunrise from immediately behind my campsite just above Marion Lake. 

A good omen for things to come-- bright sun and clear skies. Day two was a great day of hiking. The trail was completely above tree line with expansive views all along the Death Shelf.

Marion LakeMarion Lake Day 2-- Looking back at Marion Lake. The three campsites at Marion Lake are somewhat hidden inbetween the grove of evergreens on the left. A great spot to cook and eat is in the middle of the first group of trees. Your kitchen and dining area are right next to the lake!

Death Canyon ShelfDeath Canyon Shelf Day 2-- On to the Death Canyon Shelf. Clear skies and clear views all day long.

Death Canyon ShelfDeath Canyon Shelf

Day 2-- First glimpse of the Grand. And the trail leads all the way there. 

Moon and Teton Crest TrailMoon and Teton Crest Trail

Day 2-- Near full moon on the Death Canyon Shelf.

I chose the very last campsite on the Death Canyon Shelf. It was just down a little hill and hidden away from the trail. It was super cozy; sheltered from the wind; and just opposite a running stream that provided fresh water for cooking and drinking. While the water looked fresh and clean, I boiled all water for cooking and used iodine tablets for my drinking water. I also left my bear can under a large table-like rock that was next to the stream, and about 50 yards from my tent.

Sunrise on the Teton Crest TrailSunrise on the Teton Crest Trail Day 3-- Sunrise on the Death Canyon Shelf with the Teton Crest Trail leading into the Alaska Basin Wilderness Area.

This was an absolutely epic day of hiking. Perhaps the best day of hiking I have ever done. It began with this amazing sunrise and it just got better as one foot fell in front of the other. Highlights include the Alaska Basin, Sunset Lake, the incomparable Hurricane Pass, Schoolroom Glacier, and Cascade Canyon. It was fucking awesome. The hardest day of the trek, but absolutely the best!

The Alaska BasinThe Alaska Basin Day 3-- The Alaska Basin. I'd like to spend more time here one day.

The Alaska BasinThe Alaska Basin Day 3-- Somewhere in the Alaska Basin.

Sunset LakeSunset Lake Day 3-- Sunset Lake

After lunching/lounging at Sunset Lake, I rounded the corner and the long climb up Hurricane Pass began. Hurricane Pass takes you right up next to the Grand, the Middle and South Tetons​​​. If you look closely in the middle of the picture above you can see the tip of one of the Tetons. Not sure which one it is, but I bet it's the Grand. If you know for sure, let me know in the comments below. Thanks!

The GrandThe Grand Day 3-- Approaching the Grand and nearing the top of Hurricane Pass.

Descending Hurricane PassDescending Hurricane PassThe awesome view along the descent of Hurricane Pass was the culmination of one of the greatest days of hiking I have ever experienced.
Teton Crest Trail, Grand Teton Naional Park, Wyoming
Day 3-- The Tetons, the glacier pond and the trail.

Hurricane PassHurricane Pass Day 3-- Descending Hurricane Pass. Hurricane Pass is at 10,338 feet above sea level. It's windy, cold and simply stunning. 

Along with being the most beautiful section of trail, I found Day 3-- Hurricane Pass to South Fork Cascade Canyon-- to be the most difficult of the 6. I was absolutely exhausted when I stumbled into cap, low in the Canyon. If I had to do it over again, I would have chosen a campsite higher up the descent, making the hiking day about an hour shorter. This would have also given me better views of the mountains and sky as night approached. As it was, being lower in the canyon, I had really easy access to water; lots of trees providing some shelter; but no views other than high granite walls. Oh well. The good thing about the site that I chose was that hiking on Day 4 was going to be short and sweet. 

Teton Crest TrailTeton Crest Trail

Day 4-- Waterfall at the Beginning of the Day

Day 4 was a pretty uneventful day of hiking. I started next to a waterfall and slowly made my way down the canyon and then up the North Fork. I met a few hikers and herd of deer along the way. The bushes lining the trail were beginning to turn and the clouds settled in.

Teton Crest TrailTeton Crest Trail Day 4-- A Colorful Portion of Trail

Teton Crest TrailTeton Crest Trail

Day 4-- Campsite North Fork Cascade Canyon. Just me and no one else for what seems like miles and miles.

Since it was such a short day of hiking I chose the last campsite in the North Fork. I had the area all to myself. That's one of the great things about this trek-- there are very few people through hiking (at least at the end of September) so once beyond the day-hike-accessible sections you hardly see anyone on the trail. And with the exception of Marion Lake and Holly Lake, you are not camping near to anyone. 

Light on the Teton Crest TrailLight on the Teton Crest Trail

Day 4-- Low Light Shine through Canyon and onto the Grand.

Sunrise on the Teton Crest TrailSunrise on the Teton Crest TrailThe Teton Crest Trail has been called the best back packing adventure in North America. I first heard about it several years ago when researching Teton hikes in a Falcon guide book. The description of the trek was so complimentary that I decided then and there that I was going to do it. I just didn't know when. Then when this trip came I knew that I had to find the time to do it. Only problem was I couldn't get a permit for any time earlier than late September. I arrived in the Tetons at the end of August and warm dry days and cold nights continued all the way until my permit dates. I had great weather for the hike, too. All 37 miles and 6 days were enjoyed without rain and just a little snow. This is one of the few backpacks that I would absolutely do again. And by the way, Day 3 from Death Canyon Shelf to Cascade Canyon South Fork was one of the best days of hiking I have ever done. It's definitely top three all-time. Right up there with Laguna 69 in Peru and the Kalalau here on Kauai.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Sunrise on the Teton Crest Trail (16"x24") limited edition metal print is included in the Stay Healthy Stay Positive Sale. One print available at 50% off. Sale ends April 1, 2020.
Day 5-- Sun Rise on Camp

Sunrise on the Teton Crest TrailSunrise on the Teton Crest Trail

Day 5-- Sunrise lights up the Sky above the Grand and Paintbrush Divide

Day 5 takes you up to the highest point of the trek-- 10,720 feet-- at Paintbrush Divide. This is another epic day of alpine hiking. 

North Fork Cascade CanyonNorth Fork Cascade Canyon

Day 5-- A Look Back to Where I Was

Paintbrush DividePaintbrush Divide Day 5-- About a quarter of the way up Paintbrush Divide.

Solitude LakeSolitude Lake Day 5-- Looking to Lake Solitude from Paintbrush Divide.

The large lake in the distance is Lake Solitude. The small glacier fed lake high on the left-- high on the mountain shelf-- is Mirror Lake. On my way up the Divide I met two women who were planning to hike up to Mirror Lake! How cool is that?!

Paintbrush DividePaintbrush Divide Day 5-- View from atop Paintbrush Divide

Paintbrush Divide is a long climb. It just keeps going and going and going. You round a switchback-- thinking that the climb is almost over-- only to see another trail-lined-wall leading further up the mountain. But once done, the views are killer. On the day I descended, I crossed a section of snow that was about 30-50 meters long. It wasn't difficult, but I can imagine if you were to hike this section early in the season or later into October an ice ax and crampons (and knowledge of how to use them) would be necessary.

Holly LakeHolly Lake Day 6-- Holly Lake

Coldest days of the trek were on the afternoon/evening of Day 5 and the morning of Day 6. It snowed in the afternoon on Day 5. The lake froze that night and I woke to snow-dusted boulders and icy water for that morning's cooking. After breakfast I broke down camp; loaded up the pack; and hiked out shivering. It was a cold morning so I was happy to get moving. The descent to Leigh Lake was not difficult, but I can imagine the day hike to Holly Lake and back would be a long one. Views along this portion of trail were not as scenic as the middle portion because you leave the alpine vistas and re-enter the treeline. This section of trail could be prime grizzly and black bear habitat. I didn't see any bears, but I definitely sang some songs through a few hidden areas of trail.

Teton Crest TrailTeton Crest Trail

Day 6-- The Way Out

The hike out to Leigh Lake/ String Lake is a long descent that just ambles on. Lots of time to think about what I saw and the effort I made. As I neared Leigh Lake I met a few day hikers and chatted a little along the way. I felt like Kerouac, preaching the Gospel of Wow.

Stand Up Paddleboarding on Leigh Lake 2Stand Up Paddleboarding on Leigh Lake 2 Day 6-- Idyllic Leigh Lake 

Random Notes on The Teton Crest Trail

  • This is one of the best hikes that I have ever done. Simply World Class. Highly recommended.
  • I didn't encounter any bears during the hike, but I did hear something outside my tent on the night spent on the Death Shelf. That was the only time that I felt worried. But of course nothing happened. I was careful to always cook and eat away from my tent. I hid my bear can away from my tent and carried bear spray just in case. 
  • I read that this trail is prettiest doing it the way I did-- Jackson Hole to Leigh Lake, but I am sure the opposite route would be amazing as well.
  • I really want to camp a couple of nights in the Alaska Basin and explore this wild area more.
  • Soundtrack for the trek-- JJ Grey and Mofro, The Killers, Hop Along, and any other rocking feel good music to go with the awesome views.
  • The trail was in great condition. And for an alpine hike, the scree and boulder fields were pretty chill. Nothing like hiking in the Yukon!
  • If you are thinking about doing this one-- Do it. You will not be disappointed.

If you any questions about this trek, thoughts or impressions or would like to share your experiences of the Teton Crest Trail, please feel free to leave a note in the comments section below. Mahalo!

Thanks for reading and Happy Trails.

Aloha,

Lee

To see more from Grand Teton National Park, please click here. 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) backpacking Backpacking hikes Grand Teton National Park great hikes GTNP National Parks nature nature photography outdoor photography outdoors public lands Teton Crest Teton Crest Trail Tetons The Teton Crest Trail US National Parks Wyoming Wyoming hikes https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/6/the-teton-crest-trail Wed, 12 Jun 2019 22:28:36 GMT
Revisiting a Gothic Landscape Wild and Beautiful-- Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon, Canada https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/6/revisiting-a-gothic-landscape-wild-and-beautiful---tombstone-tp-yukon-canada Last August I spent 8 days in Tombstone Territorial Park in the Yukon Territory, Canada. It's a wild, vast land. Empty, eerie and full of gothic beauty. The early explorers found the ragged, dried magma mountains that jutted from the earth in strange and prominent angles to resemble grave markers-- hence the name of Tombstone. 

Talus LakeTalus LakeTombstone Territorial Park, The Yukon Territory, Canada Talus Lake and surrounding mountains of Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon, Canada. This was my campsite for night 3 of my 5 night/6 day backpack in the park. Notice how the jagged mountains rise off the hill like tombstones marking graves of giants passed.

 

Tombstone Territorial Park lies about 2 hours north of Dawson City, the gold rush town of Klondike fame. The park receives about 8,000 visitors a year and has an excellent visitor center with a very friendly staff. Here, I enjoyed wild herb tea and bannock, a type of fried bread of the Inuit and other First Nations peoples,  on both my first day in the park and my last. The main campground is an excellent place to camp and I particularly enjoyed the day use cabin where me and several other campers ate meals and waited out the rainy weather. We fed the pot belly stove log after log and talked story throughout the day. It was really quite cozy.

 

The Hike to Grizzly LakeThe Hike to Grizzly LakeThe 14 km long hike to Grizzly Lake was the toughest day of my 6 Day backpack in Tombstone Territorial Park. Boulder fields, steep slopes of scree, and a navigation error on my part made for a long day. But the views were good!
Tombstone Territorial Park, The Yukon Territory, Canada
Day 1 of my 6 day trek through Tombstone TP leads through a gothic landscape of wild beauty. While the hike begins in Taiga forest, the majority of the trail is above tree line and offers awesome views (if the clouds and fog allow). The hike is about 9 miles long and covers ridge line, scree and boulder fields (lots of boulder fields). I found day 1 (and the return leg on day 6) to be the most difficult of the 6 day trek. Below is a profile of day 1 to Grizzly Lake and day 2 to Divide Lake.

When i first saw this profile, I thought it was a joke or a charting error. I immediately looked down the page to Glissade Pass. I have never before seen a hiking profile like this before-- straight up and straight down!?! But it's true. That's what it is-- it's pretty much straight up and straight down. It's not really a pass. It's just a way up. Ropes should be anchored, but there are not any. It's totally doable, but It's a tricky climb up and down with full pack.

Up Glissade PassUp Glissade PassI spent 6 days backpacking through Tombstone Territorial Park in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The wild and cragged landscape of tundra, mountains and scree made for difficult hiking. And although the weather would change suddenly, grey skies and heavy clouds, mist, and rain seemed to be what I remember most.
Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon Territory

The view going up Glissade Pass. I was thankful that it was dry going up, but 4 days later going down it was all wet with fog and rain and quite slippery. The good thing is this day was short and sweet, and Divide Lake on the back side was pretty impressive-- especially the following morning.

Divided LightDivided LightTombstone Territorial Park, The Yukon Territory, Canada First light falls on the mountains beyond Divide Lake.

 

Without doubt, my favorite day of the trek was day 3-- Divide Lake to Talus. This was prime alpine hiking. Very few scree slopes. No side hilling. And only one or two boulder fields. Oh, and the scenery was fucking epic.

A Landscape Fit for BronteA Landscape Fit for BronteThe best day of hiking in the Tombstone was without a doubt day three from Divide Lake to Talus Lake. This view shows the beautiful approach to Tombstone Mountain.
Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon Territory

Fields of green tundra and blue skies. I was a happy hiker on this day! 

Happy MarmotHappy MarmotI didn't see much wildlife during the hike-- just a few birds and marmots. I did see bear scat on two different occasions, but no big animals. However, earlier in Kluane and later in northern Yukon I did see a few moose, black bear and had a grizzly walk right through the campground at Engineer Creek.
Tombstone Territorial Park, The Yukon Territory, Canada

Here's a little marmot that I met along the way.

 

As I write this post the premier backcountry trek in Tombstone is an out and back to Talus Lake. There's talk of making a circuit to limit impact on the vegetation of the tundra. I had planned to spend two nights at Talus Lake and hoped to explore around the Tombstone Mountain on my second day there, but because I was running out of food and fuel I decided to turn back after sleeping just one night at Talus. 

Perfectly TombstonePerfectly TombstoneTombstone Territorial Park, The Yukon Territory, Canada Tombstone Mountain and Arctic clouds. Fittingly goth and cooly alluring. This is Tombstone Territorial Park: vast, remote and more than a little chilling.

 

 

Random Notes on the trek:

  • Grizzly Lake can be done as a long ass out and back day hike. I wouldn't do it, but it could be done. More reasonable would be a 4 to 5 mile hike to a high viewpoint of the valley and mountains beyond.  
  • Campsites were nice, but I didn't like the plastic, grid-like tent pads. Uncomfortable and difficult to use with my tent (rainfly hooks into tent pegs so tent pegs must be secure, which was nearly impossible to do with the design of these tent pads. But I made do).
  • Hike was not crowded at all. Pretty remote section of the world. Most tents that I saw at one campground were 10. The fewest two (including mine).
  • Everyone on the trail was friendly.
  • Didn't see any big animals, but did see grizzly bear scat along the trail and a Lynx in the front country camp site before I began the trek.
  • The weather was totally unpredictable, other than it was mostly wet and cold.
  • If you could time a visit when the tundra turns in the fall I imagine it would be epic.
  • Definitely stop by the visitor center as it is informative, friendly, and super cozy.
  • The staff at this park ROCKS! Everyone was just awesome and very helpful.
  • Take lots of toilet paper as there are toilets at each campsite but no paper is provided.
  • The toilets are very HIGH! (You'll get it when you see them).
  • Leave a journal entry if you have the time! (There's a journal in the toilets for comedy).
  • Recommended playlist-- The Smiths, The Cure, Cowboy Junkies, Mazzy Star, Thievery Corporation, Mozart (Requiem).

If you have any questions about this hike or about my experience in this wonderful park, please feel free to reach out to me in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading and happy trails.

*More photos from the trek are in the gallery A Landscape for Bronte...

Aloha,

Lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) adventure photography backpacking Yukon Canada Divide Lake Divide Lake Yukon Grizzly Creek Trail Grizzly Lake Grizzly Lake Trail Grizzly Lake Yukon nature nature photography Talus Lake Talus Lake Yukon Tombstone Tombstone Territorial Park Yukon Yukon Territory https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/6/revisiting-a-gothic-landscape-wild-and-beautiful---tombstone-tp-yukon-canada Sun, 09 Jun 2019 04:11:00 GMT
Campsites of the Beautiful Suffering-- A 100 Day Photography Adventure https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/5/campsites-of-the-beautiful-suffering---a-100-day-photography-adventure The Camping ListThe Camping List

Summer is vastly approaching and I am sure many of you are getting ready for epic road trips and adventures. I thought it would be a good time to give you a quick review of the 86 nights spent in a tent during my 100 day photography adventure of 2018. Below are a few thoughts on a few campsites of the trip. If you have any questions on a location or itinerary feel free to ask away. Likewise, if you have any thoughts or experiences that you would like to share, please, shout out to me in the comments below. Mahalo!

To view images from this road trip, please click here to see the Beautiful Suffering online gallery.

Best Easy to get to Backcountry Campsite--Leigh Lake, GTNP, Wyoming

Best Hard to get to Backcountry Campsite-- Cascade North Fork along the Teton Crest Trail, GTNP, Wyoming

Worst Campsite-- Eagle Plains in the Yukon Territory on the way to Inuvik and Tuk

Hottest Campsite-- Shadow Mountain, Bridger Teton National Forest

Coldest Campsite-- Holly Lake, GTNP, Wyoming / Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, Canada (tie)

Windiest Campsite-- Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, Canada

Smokiest-- Summit Lake, BC / Kerkeselin, Jasper NP, Alberta, Canada (tie)

Northernmost Campsite-- Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, Canada

Easternmost Campsite-- Sage Creek, Badlands NP, South Dakota

Most Bear-- Brooks Camp, Katmai NP, Alaska

Most Elk-- Mammoth, Yellowstone NP, Wyoming

Most Bison-- Pebble Creek, Yellowstone NP, Wyoming

Most Moose-- Wonder Lake, Denali NP, AK

Most Caribou-- Wonder Lake, Denali NP, AK

Most Eagles-- Lake Garibaldi PP, BC, Canada

Most Prairie Dogs-- Sage Creek, Badlands NP, South Dakota

Most Snow in Campsite-- Lake Garibaldi PP, BC, Canada

Nicest Neighbors-- Stawamus Chief PP, BC Canada / Grizzly Lake / Talus Lake Tombstone TP, Yukon, Canada

Loudest Neighbors-- Lewis Lake, Yellowstone NP, Wyoming

Coziest Campsite-- Tombstone TP, Yukon Territory, Canada

Wettest Campsite-- Wrangell St. Elias NP, Alaska

Most Scenic (in a gothic beauty kind of way)-- Talus Lake, Tombstone TP, Yukon, Canada

Most Scenic (if The Mountain is out)-- Wonder Lake, Denali NP, Alasaka

Most Scenic (if The Mountain is NOT out)--  Leigh Lake/ Cascade North Fork (tie) GTNP, Wyoming

Most Scenic on a Budget-- Shadow Mountain, Bridger Teton NF, Wyoming

Cleanest--Devil's Tower NM, Wyoming

Best Showers (pay)-- St. Mary's GNP, Montana

Best Showers (free)-- Ten Mile Lake, BC, Canada (best overall)

Best Reservation System-- BC Parks, British Columbia, Canada

Best Memories-- All of 'em!

 

Aloha,

Lee

 

To see images from the exhibition The Beautiful Suffering, please click here.

 

 

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Alaskan campgrounds backcountry camping beautiful suffering best campsites British Columbia campgrounds camp recommendations campgrounds camping campsites Grand Teton National Park GTNP Light Lake campground nature outdoors traveling worst campsites https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/5/campsites-of-the-beautiful-suffering---a-100-day-photography-adventure Fri, 24 May 2019 00:28:03 GMT
A Perfect East Swell-- Kauai Surf Photos https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/3/east-swell-surf---kauai-surf-photos Kauai recently had a perfect east swell fill in from Nawiliwili to Anahola. Here are a few action shots of Kauai's very talented wave riders. All photos were taken with the Canon 1 DX II and Canon 300mm f/2.8 II Lens.

Falling from the SkyFalling from the SkyNawiliwili, Kauai The masked rider emerges from the explosion of white water and aims down the line. I love how the all natural sun screen (don't harm our reefs!) masks this body boarder's face, making him appear like a villain or super hero from an action flick. 

 

Down the LineDown the LineNawiliwili, Kauai Pulling in and slowing down. Notice how this surfer's left hand is on the outside rail of his surfboard? Well, he's doing that in order to get leverage so that he can pull himself down the face of a right breaking wave. In surfing, he's considered a goofy footer because his right leg leads, leaving his back to face the right breaking wave. It's likely he feels more comfortable on a left breaking wave where he would be directly facing the front of the wave. Anyway, when your back is to the wave you need to find some king of extra momentum to position yourself in the pocket or sweet spot of the wave. That's what he is expertly doing here. Notice, too, his right hand touching the wave, almost as if he is drawing a diagonal line on the wave. He's doing that to slow himself down, hoping to "get tubed".

 

Pulling InPulling InNawiliwili, Kauai Tubed. Shacked. Pitted. Barreled. Ecstasy. I've only experienced it once-- for a nano second on a small little wave at Honolulu Bay, Maui. Let's be clear-- it was nothing like this. This surfer is so much better! And I just love this photo. I love how the surfer's body matches the shape of the wave. Being one with nature in single minded focus. Adapting our position and posture so that we can better accept the gifts of nature. 

 


Having Fun
 

Carving the LineCarving the LineNawiliwili, Kauai

Elegant Athleticism

Slash n Gash!Slash n Gash!Nawiliwili, Kauai

Slash n Gash

 

Was a Boogie Board Ever Ridden Like This!?Was a Boogie Board Ever Ridden Like This!?Nawiliwili, Kauai

In Perfect Position. This body boarder is in perfect position for a long ride down the face of the wave. To ride a body board in this manner takes a great deal of skill and technique. Watching these rippahs perform was inspiring. They were full of stoke and shared it with the gallery along the break wall. The afternoon show will be a wonderful memory for me for many years to come.

 

Was a Boogie Board Ever Ridden Like This!? 2Was a Boogie Board Ever Ridden Like This!? 2Nawiliwili, Kauai

Droppin' In.

 

Flipped OutFlipped OutNawiliwili, Kauai Flipped Out! (Oh, he nailed the landing, too!)

 

Go With the FlowGo With the FlowNawiliwili, Kauai

Go with the Flow

 

RainbowRainbowKapa'a, Kauai

Finito

 

Aloha, 

​​​​​​​Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) canon Canon 300 2.8 Canon 300mm f/2.8 for surf photography Canon 300mm f/2.8 II east side surf East swell Hawaii Kauai Kauai nature photography Kauai photographer Kauai Surf Photography Kauai waves ocean swell team canon waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2019/3/east-swell-surf---kauai-surf-photos Sun, 03 Mar 2019 18:00:54 GMT
A Kind of Beautiful Suffering-- A Long Summer's Photo Trip https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/6/a-kind-of-beautiful-suffering---a-long-summers-photo-trip

Aloha. Well, my photo trip is getting close. I've already shipped my Toyota FJ Cruiser to Seattle and I fly to meet it Sunday night. I'll be away from Kauai until October 10th and the above map shows my (rough) itinerary. Backpacking trips in Garibaldi PP, Tombstone TP, Assiniboine PP, and Tetons NP await. As do brown bears in Katmai NP; the mountain in Denali NP; and loads of other sights and critters along the way. Planning a road trip is always the romantic part, but enduring one is a kind of beautiful suffering. Wish me luck as I set out on this adventure. Hopefully, I'll come back with some nice photos to share. 

Aloha, 

Lee

 

PS-- Summer Hours at the Hanapepe Gallery (July 1 ~ October 10th)

Monday-- 10:30 ~ 2:30

Tuesday-- CLOSED

Wednesday-- 10:30 ~ 2:30

Thursday-- CLOSED

Friday-- 2 ~ 8:30

Saturday-- CLOSED

Sunday-- CLOSED

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) adventure explore grand tour lee scott light source hanapepe light source photography by lee scott nature outdoors photo trip roadtrip tour https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/6/a-kind-of-beautiful-suffering---a-long-summers-photo-trip Wed, 27 Jun 2018 00:12:10 GMT
Pele's Process https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/6/peles-process Pele's ProcessPele's ProcessA 3:30 AM check-in and a 4 AM departure for the roughest and most memorable boat ride I have ever taken in my life. One hour and a half riding a mechanical bull of an aluminum catamaran to photograph Pele entering the ocean for the first time. I tried back in 2016, but the laze was too strong for my entire stay and no-one was allowed at the Kalepana viewing area. This time, she let me see her. And I am so thankful she did. Here she is making new land in what is Pele's Process.
Big Island, Hawaii
Pele's Process, Big Island, Hawaii

I, like many of you, have been following closely the recent events on the Big Island. The Kilauea eruption into Leilani Estates in Puna and the subsequent ocean entries in and around Kapoho Bay show the power of Pele and impress upon us the fact that our Earth is a living planet. The devastation is incredibly sad, but at the same time Pele's alluring beauty is undeniable.

PelePeleReviewing photos from the three days of lava viewing was intense. Burned houses, scorched earth, and the mesmerizing power of Pele-- her color, her power, her alluring proximity and extraordinary presence was making me a bit mad. I told Naomi about this feeling and she said, "It's natural. It's Pele." She is fierce. Believe that.
Big Island, Hawaii
Pele (24"x36") limited edition metal print is included in the Stay Healthy Stay Positive Sale. One print available at 50% off. Sale ends April 1, 2020.
Pele, Puna, Big Island, Hawaii

***

I have had the chance to visit Hawaii island three times since last April, and on those trips I saw the Big Island as I have seen it before, and in new ways hitherto unimaginable. In April, the lava lake at Halema'uma'u was "normal", glowing in the dark hours like I had seen it in 2016.

NightfallNightfallVolcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

As Night Falls a Halo Rises, Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

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Then in May, the crater began to stir as earthquakes shook Volcano village and the Puna district multiple times daily, until the lava lake sank into Kilauea's underground tubes and channels. Next, the fissures opened from underground and eruptions into Leilani Estates spewed lava high into the air; lava pools and rivers formed; evacuations, roadblocks and checkpoints dotted the map; the loss and grief; and Pele's process began anew, creating new land in a display of awesome power.

Fissure 8, Leilani EstatesFissure 8, Leilani EstatesBig Island, Hawaii Fissure 8, Leilani Estates, Big Island, Hawaii

Lava Fountain PoolsLava Fountain PoolsA Flyover above Fissure 8 in Puna sees it shooting lava 220 feet high; the makings of a cinder cone along the back side of the lava fountain are apparent; as is, too, the lava river and it's ocean minded flow.
Puna, Big Island, Hawaii
Lava Fountain Pools, Puna, Big Island, Hawaii

A flyover Fissure 8 in Puna sees it shooting lava 220 feet high; the makings of a cinder cone along the back side of the lava fountain are apparent; as is, too, the lava river and it's ocean minded flow

***

I photographed this event on two occasions-- late May and again in early June. In May, I went over for just a few days. In June, I went on a one way ticket and took all my camping gear and stayed a bit longer, determined to photograph this event from a safe distance and a respectful perspective.

Fissure 8 (Modern Art), Puna, Big Island, Hawaii 

***

On June 4th I saw the lava fill into Kapoho Bay and knew that on tomorrow's boat ride we would not be a able to get close to the lava flow because of the reef and breaking waves.

Where Lava Meets SeaWhere Lava Meets SeaJune 4, 2018 a half mile wide lava flow reaches Kapoho Bay and covers the reef in new volcanic black rock and white steam.
Big Island, Hawaii
Where Lava Meets Sea with White Steam, Kapoho Bay, Big Island, Hawaii

A half-mile-wide lava flow reaches Kaphoho Bay and covers the reef and baths in new volcanic black rock and white steam.

***

At 4 am on June 5th I boarded a boat and didn't really know what to expect, only that it would be a shorter ride than my fire one the week before since the lava ocean entry at Kapoho Bay was closer to Hilo than the first ocean entry of this eruption. This ride was less choppy than the previous and I got less wet. The red plume in the pre dawn sky was much larger and appeared as if it were mirroring the lava river flowing below in the sky above. When we approached Kapoho Bay we could see lava just beginning to lap into flames around the back of these ocean front houses. And then the flames grew, danced, and spread. One of the most helpless feelings I have ever had. And one of the saddest, too. 

Ocean Front Fire at Kapoho BayOcean Front Fire at Kapoho BayOn June 5th I took my second boat ride to photograph the active lava ocean entry. The day before I saw the lava fill into Kapoho Bay and new that we would not be able to get close to the lava flow because of the reef and breaking waves. So I boarded the boat and didn't really know what to expect, only that it would be a shorter ride than my first one the week before since the lava ocean entry at Kapoho Bay was closer to Hilo than the first ocean entry of this eruption. This ride was less choppy than the previous and I got less wet. The red plume in the pre dawn sky was much larger and appeared as if it were mirroring the lava river flowing below in the sky above. When we approached Kaphoho Bay we could see lava just beginning to lap into flames around the back of these ocean front houses. And then the flames grew, danced, and spread. One of the most helpless feeling I have ever had. And one of the saddest, too.
Kapoho Bay, Big Island, Hawaii
Ocean Front Fire at Kaphoho Bay, Big Island, Hawaii

Kapoho Bay (Burning Down the House)Kapoho Bay (Burning Down the House)On June 5th I took my second boat ride to photograph the active lava ocean entry. The day before I saw the lava fill into Kapoho Bay and new that we would not be able to get close to the lava flow because of the reef and breaking waves. So I boarded the boat and didn't really know what to expect, only that it would be a shorter ride than my first one the week before since the lava ocean entry at Kapoho Bay was closer to Hilo than the first ocean entry of this eruption. This ride was less choppy than the previous and I got less wet. The red plume in the pre dawn sky was much larger and appeared as if it were mirroring the lava river flowing below in the sky above. When we approached Kaphoho Bay we could see lava just beginning to lap into flames around the back of these ocean front houses. And then the flames grew, danced, and spread. One of the most helpless feeling I have ever had. And one of the saddest, too.
Big Island, Hawaii
Kapoho Bay (Burning Down the House), Big Island, Hawaii

***

The power of Pele and her incredible beauty have never been more visible. I hope these images give you a sense of this energy and the wonder of our ever changing planet. Respect to Pele and hope and courage to all of those affected.


Aloha, 
Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) big island hawaii lava lee scott nature outdoors photography volcano https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/6/peles-process Wed, 20 Jun 2018 00:04:20 GMT
Teklanika Campground, Denali National Park, Alaska https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/4/teklanika-campground-denali-national-park-alaska

The Northern Lights Dance above Teklanika Campground, Denali NP, Alaska

Good News! I was selected for a Professional Photographer's Road Permit in Denali NP so this summer I'll be spending a week at my second most favorite Denali campground-- Teklanika. 29 miles along the Park Road, Teklanika is the last campground you can drive to. But in most cases you will need a Tek Pass or a Camper bus ticket to go further into the park on one of the park buses. There's a bus stop just outside the campground and while conveniently located it was a bit busy each morning as many Tek campers were looking for the few available seats on the first buses each morning. I rode the bus from Tek to Igloo mountain and to Wonderlake. It was convenient and easy, and I felt much more a part of the Denali landscape than when I camped at Riley Creek. 

Light Falling, Teklanika RiverLight Falling, Teklanika RiverTeklanika River, Teklanika River Campground, Denali NP, Alaska

The hillsides behind Teklanika River light up with the morning light.

The Teklanika river is right behind the Teklanika campground. The braided river bed is a great place to explore and look for wildlife and photo ops.

Sunset, Teklanika RiverSunset, Teklanika RiverDenali National Park, Alaska

Sunset and the Braids of the Tekalanika River, Denali NP, Alaska

Teklanika RiverTeklanika RiverDenali National Park, Alaska

River Bar, Teklanika River, Denali NP, Alaska

The River bar is a great place to walk and explore. I saw a Caribou on the other side of the bank and a few other footprints of various other critters.

First Time For EverythingFirst Time For EverythingDenali National Park, Alaska

First Time for Everything, Teklanika River, Denali NP, Alaska

On my last night in the park I got lucky and saw the Northern Lights. I planned to wake up at 12:30 am but was too cold to fall asleep so I got out of the tent around 10pm and that's when the light show started. It was incredible! Absolutely one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I hurriedly grabbed my gear and gloves and headed to the river bed, hoping to photograph the lights and their reflections in the Tekalanika River. After about 30 minutes of photographing in the river bed-- all alone-- I became fearful that a bear might come up and eat me. So I packed up my things and returned to the campground where I set up with a few other photographers and photographed the dance from the comfort of numbers. 

A Look into the HeavensA Look into the HeavensDenali National Park, Alaska

A Look Into the Heavens, Teklanika Campground, Denali NP, Alaska

Lastly, the Teklanika Campground has the normal campground amenities-- toilets, water spigot (froze each night and morning of my stay), concrete food pantry and gas/cooking pantry, picnic tables at each site and if I remember correctly, all of the sites were flat, gravelly and there were a good number of trees around, too. All in all a good place to camp if you have a car and want to be further inside the park than Riley or Savage. I can't wait to go back this year. 49/50 forever! (49-- Alaska/50-- Hawaii)

Aloha,

Lee

To view more photographs from Denali National Park, please click here.

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) alaska camping camping alaska camping denali np denali denali national park denali np photography by lee scott teklanika campground teklanika river https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/4/teklanika-campground-denali-national-park-alaska Sat, 28 Apr 2018 00:54:54 GMT
A Perfect Day in Hanalei-- Silent Auction to Benefit Malama Kauai https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/4/a-perfect-day-in-hanalei---silent-auction-to-benefit-malama-kauai Hanalei BayA Perfect Day in HanaleiBlue skies and gentle waves at one of my favorite places on island. Yes, it’s another perfect day in Hanalei.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii
A Perfect Day in Hanalei, Hanalei Bay, Kauai.  

20"x50" Open Edition Metal Print, wire hanger, crate, and complimentary shipping.

Silent Auction bidding opens now at $500. Bidding closes at 11:59 pm Sunday Night (4.22.18). Winning bid will be donated to Malama Kauai and will directly benefit North Shore relief efforts following the Kauai Flood of 2018.

 

Aloha.

As many of you know, during the 24 hour period from Saturday April 14th through Sunday April 15th Kauai was hit by a deluge of rainfall. Reports of 27 inches of rain in 24 hours began to filter through social media. Officially, 28 inches of rain was recorded in Hanalei. But the gauge broke-- four hours before the storm did. And rain kept on falling.

My parents were visiting from Nashville, staying in Princeville and I was with them Saturday night and Sunday. I can honestly say that I have never experienced rainfall as intense for such an extended period of time. The lightning and thunder hit and rang constantly, and sounded as if it was ripping the sky and earth right behind you. Sheets of rain fell and fell and fell. When we went to Foodland Sunday morning the Makai Course was flooding onto Ka Haku Road. And this was on a downward slope in upper Princeville! It was unlike anything I have ever seen before. And then, pictures of the flooding in Hanalei; the landslides in Wainiha; the destruction of Black Pot Beach as the Hanalei River decided to shift course a hundred yards to the left, taking a home, a couple of trucks, and a few buffalos with it as it entered the ocean. 

Homes and property from Anahola to Kilauea; Hanalei to Wainiha; Haena to Ke'e; and Lawai to Koloa experienced flash floods and devastating losses. Many of our most favorite parks and public areas are closed or inaccessible due to either flooding or landslides or both. It is all so incredibly sad and it has taken me a while to process it all, but the aloha spirit of Kauai has moved thousands to volunteer in rescue and relief efforts. Our Kauai watermen on jet skies and boats hit the shores of the affected areas before the rains even stopped. Local stores and restaurants have become donation centers and pick up spots as locals volunteer their time, money and vehicles to drive supplies to staging areas at Anini Beach, Kilauea Neighborhood Center and shelters throughout the island. Hundreds have been evacuated from Wainiha via helicopter and boat this week, while others have remained at Camp Naue and are supporting one another in the spirit of Kokua and Aloha.

We are grateful to the government agencies and staff, Hawaii Red Cross, Malama Kauai, and the countless volunteers who are helping the Kauai community in a countless number of ways. And we can help, too.

Light Source will have a silent auction of the 20"x50" metal print A Perfect Day in Hanalei to benefit Malama Kauai's relief Efforts on the North Shore of Kauai. This metal print retails in my Hanapepe Gallery for $2,000. Bidding will start at $500, and bidding will close at 11:59 pm Sunday Night (Kauai time). The amount of the winning bid will be donated in it's entirety to Malama Kauai's North Shore relief efforts. I will supply the print, crate and shipping. You supply the winning bid. Deal? Deal!

If you would like to make a bid please do so in the comments section of this blog or on my Facebook page.

Mahalo nui loa!

Aloha, 

Lee

 

Congratulations to R&JP whose $1,500 bid won this beautiful metal print of A Perfect Day in Hanalei. Mahalo nui loa!

 

Mahalo to Lava Lava Beach Club, Kauai Shores Hotel, Bayada Home Health, SimplicityHR by ALTRES and the Hanalei Rotary Club for matching donations to Malama Kauai. Thank you for making this donation even bigger! Aloha!

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii kauai kauai flood 2018 kauai photography malama kauai nature north shore photography by lee scott silent auction to benefit malama kauai https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/4/a-perfect-day-in-hanalei---silent-auction-to-benefit-malama-kauai Thu, 19 Apr 2018 21:37:55 GMT
Wonder Lake Campground, Denali NP, Alaska https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/3/wonder-lake-campground-denali-np-alaska Campsite #14 (Wonder Lake Campground)Campsite #14 (Wonder Lake Campground)This long exposure image shows the view right outside my tent at Wonder Lake campground at mile 85 of the 92 mile long Denali Park Road. The Mountain is just 26 miles away! This photo was taken literally right at my campsite. I think I set up the tripod about 3 feet from the picnic table, upon which I rested my camera bag and hot green tea. In this photograph I wanted to show the interplay between The Mountain and evening sky. It seems that much of my time in and around the Wonder Lake area was spent looking up at the sky, towards the High One and wondering if the clouds would clear and if Denali would become visible.
I used a 6 stop grad nd filter in combination with a 10 stop nd filter and polarizer when taking this photograph.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Campsite #14, Wonder Lake Campground, Denali NP, Alaska

I will be traveling to Alaska again this July and to help prepare for the trip I have been going through photographs from my August 2016 visit to Denali. Part nostalgia and part study, going though old photographs help me determine where I want to focus my time and what animals I want to read up on. This year, I'll definitely go to Katmai NP for a week (July 17 ~ 24), but other than that, my schedule is pretty open. I may go to Denali again (if I get the photographer's permit-- definitely!), or perhaps I may go down south to Kenai Fjords NP. Or up north to Wrangell St. Elias NP, the largest national park in the US. While the itinerary is still undecided, the planning is well underway. And a large part of the planning involves Google searches on locations, parks, maps, campgrounds and images of all of the above. Since I rely heavily on these searches and the blogs of other photographers and travelers, I thought I'd put something together about two of my favorite Denali NP campgrounds: Wonder Lake and Teklanika. This post will present photographs from my 8 days camping at Wonder Lake.

Days Spent at the Reflection Pond, Wonder Lake area of Denali NP, Alaska

Wonder Lake Campground is at mile 85 of the Denali Park Road. Accessible by Camper Bus or a very long bike ride on the one road in the park. It's the closest campground to Denali, which is 26 miles away. The first couple of days that I was there the mountain was completely covered in clouds and I didn't know exactly where it was. I mean I knew it was in "that general direction over there", but I couldn't quite place it, which after seeing it feels really stupid. I tell people now that seeing The Mountain is like seeing God (whatever our personal concept of God is). How could you not know The Mountain was there? 

The Mountain, from the Wonder Lake area of Denali NP, Alaska

The Wonder Lake campground has 28 sites spread out along a gentle hillside. I imagine each site has stellar Denali views and my site (#14) looked right at the mountain. There is a covered, food storage area with common picnic tables and store rooms for food and gas/stoves. This was really nice as it offered shelter during rainy days and also served as a place to meet and chat with other campers. Wonder Lake itself is about 500 yards behind the campsite. A gravel road leads to the lake, but no path or trail leads around it. To get the iconic scene of Denali reflected in Wonder Lake you have to go back to the road and walk about 5 or 7 miles towards Kantishna. I think there's actually a hill called Ansel Adams Hill where you can see the mountain in the lake. For my reflection images I chose a couple of ponds that were 2.5 miles from the campsite. I walked to these spots every morning and evening for sunrise and sunset. Mornings until late August see the sun rise earlier than the bus pickup at Wonder Lake so if you want first light on the mountain, walking or cycling is the only way. I've heard that September's daybreak affords a more leisurely start and the bus could be an option. For sunset you could take the bus and ask to be dropped off, but you would have a long wait for last light. Also, your dinner would perhaps be earlier or later than you might like. 

Denali BlueDenali BlueA Japanese photographers who has been photographing the wildlife in Denali National Park since 2000 told me about a reflection pond that he liked to visit from time to time. His reason for liking the spot-- it was quiet. Well I like quiet too, so I decided to give it this spot a try. And I loved it. I think I went back every morning and every evening for five straight days. It is such a special place of high beauty and exquisite silence. In all five days, I never met anyone else. One morning, however, I did see a cow moose easing through the grasses on the pond's edge. And one night after photographing sunset I saw 4 moose, 3 porcupine, countless snow hare and a few stars on the two and one half mile walk back to my campsite.
On the morning that Denali Blue was taken, I thought for sure I would finally see The Mountain. But just as the clouds above were lifting definitively, a curtain of fog came up from below. It was like a magnificent trick played on my expectations. A lesson learned: have no expectations. Just hold joy in the heart and be glad that there are still such beautiful places and such quiet places left on our Earth.
Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali Blue, Wonder Lake area of Denali NP, Alaska

Wildlife viewing at Wonder Lake was pretty spectacular. Every day I saw a moose. Some days a beautiful cow moose and other days one or two massive Bull Moose. One night walking back from the reflection pond I saw four different moose and ran from this one:

Big Ole Moose (Denali Days)Big Ole Moose (Denali Days)Denali National Park, Alaska

Big Ole Moose (Denali Days), Wonder Lake area of Denali NP

He liked to munch on the vegetation in the campground and if you waited long enough it's likely that you would see him walking between the tents, towards the lake or the through the vast fields of blueberries and tundra.

 

The moose rut was approaching and later in August the cows and the bulls begin to share the same spaces as they look for a suitable mate. One area of the park-- well away from Wonder Lake-- was closed to foot traffic as the bulls in that area were becoming aggressive.

Critters big and small in the Wonder Lake area of Denali NP. I also saw porcupines and a wolf! 

Denali WolfCall of the Wild (The Wolf in You)Denali National Park, Alaska
Call of the Wild was published to National Geographic's Daily Dozen on April 27, 2017. See more at the link below:
http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/daily-dozen/2017-04-27/

The abundant colors is what surprised me most about Denali. I guess I thought it would be just an expanse of snow, but it wasn't. Instead rich greens, reds and yellows met the eye pretty much everywhere you looked. I especially liked the grasses that grew around Wonder Lake.

A Gentle Wind Blows through the Late Alaskan SummerA Gentle Wind Blows through the Late Alaskan SummerDenali National Park, Alaska

Most of my time, however, was spent walking to the reflection ponds, waiting for the clouds to clear and walking back to my campsite. Here are a few more of these early mornings and late evenings:

Mt. Brooks, Wonder Lake area of Denali NP, Alaska

The Light Changes but the Clouds Don't Completely Clear

Alpen Glow on the Top of Denali, from the reflection pond near Wonder Lake, Denali NP, Alaska

Night Fall, Denali NP, Alaska

Of the three campsites where I pitched my tent in Denali NP Wonder Lake was my favorite. Teklanika Campground was my second favorite and Riley Creek Campground was a necessary stopping point at the beginning and middle, but nothing more than that. In the next post I'll share some photos from Teklanika.

Till then

Aloha,

Lee 

To view more images from Denali National Park, please click here. 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) alaska campsite #14 wonder lake campground denali national park denali denali from wonder lake campground denali mountain from wonder lake campground denali national park landscape photography from denali national park mt. denali nature nature photography the mountain the wonder lake area of denali national park wildlife wonder lake campground wonder lake campground photography https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/3/wonder-lake-campground-denali-np-alaska Fri, 09 Mar 2018 01:43:29 GMT
To the Weeping Wall-- Kauai's Blue Hole https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/2/to-the-weeping-wall

A Wild Land (Weeping Wall Magic), The Weeping Wall, Mt. Waialeale, Kauai

The hike to the Weeping Wall is hard. It just is. I think all discussions should begin with this understanding. Yes, it is beautiful. Yes, it is an amazing adventure full of Weeping Wall magic, but it's a difficult hike through a wild land. You have to suffer for the magic. The "trail" is through thick jungle. It leads one over, around, and under trees and mud and quagmire. You also stroll through bamboo grove and walk alongside an idyllic stream. Until you boulder hop across its rushing waters and wade into it, navigating your way to the next section of boulders or slippery footpath. 

The Blue Hole, KauaiThe Way to the Weeping Wall Leads through Here (Inquire Within)Guardian Falls, Kauai

The Way to the Blue Hole Leads Through Here (Inquire Within), Waikokos Valley, Kauai

I think the above picture gives a good indication of what the hike is like-- stream, waterfalls, boulders and jungle, with Mt. Waialeale in the distance. You are going there-- towards the box canyon of Waikokos Valley where the walls of Waialeale form the Blue Hole of sky and mountain. That's what the Blue Hole is-- the sky as you look up from the base of what was once the wettest place on earth. Now, Waialeale is the 8th wettest place on the planet so the streams that you encounter on the hike can flash flood at any time. This is another reason why I say the Weeping Wall hike is so difficult.  The logistics and planning necessary make it all rather involved. You must have 4WD to access the trailhead, which is at the weir at the end of loop road. If you don't have 4WD you could possibly make it to the Jurassic Gate and then walk 2 miles to the trailhead. But it's such a long hike (duration) that you would be pushing it to get out in daylight. And this is one hike that I would not want to do with headlamp. But of course, take one with you. Just in case. 

Guardian Falls, KauaiGuardian Falls and RainbowGuardian Falls is about halfway to the Weeping Wall of Mt. Waialeale. It is an extremely difficult hike through dense jungle, bamboo and over and through the streams that become the Wailua River. When I walked up and approached the waterfall, I was stoked to see blue skies above Waialeale and the little rainbow at the bottom of the falls.
Wailua, Kauai, Hawaii

Guardian Falls and Rainbow, along the hike to the Weeping Wall of Mt. Waialeale, Kauai

I made it to Guardian Falls about 4 years ago, but that time I was too tired to worried about the rain to continue on. On that occasion I broke a carbon fiber hiking stick when I slipped and fell in the jungle mud. And when I arrived at Guardian Falls grey clouds covered the mountain. I wrote about that excursion in an earlier blog entry. I think I called that one "A Slogfest to Guardian Falls."

One of my goals for the year was to safely hike to the Weeping Wall and back. I tried to go on a couple of different occasions late last year, but got rained out. And in early February we tried again, but a Flash Flood Watch stopped us again. For this hike (and probably all hikes, really) it is best to err on the side of caution. If you are above Guardian Falls when the waters rise, you ain't getting back until the waters subside. There is no place to pitch a tent. And really, very few areas of accessible higher elevation. You could easily find yourself in trouble. I have friends who had to lock arms and form a human chain to cross the rapidly rising stream-- and that was in the easier first section. We brought along a rope just in case we needed it, but luckily we had blue skies in the valley and benign clouds at the Wall. 

Kauai WaterfallA Long LineAs we approached the Weeping Wall the vegetation began to change. Ferns popped up out of nowhere and the trees lost their thickness and stature. Waterfalls lined the mountain walls, scarring the green cliffs a dull grey-brown. We even saw a natural pool that appeared abandoned as water no longer fell into it, a sign that this place is no longer the wettest on earth.
Waialeale, Kauai

A Long Line, nearing the Weeping Wall of Mt. Waialeale, Kauai

Once above Guardian Falls the stream becomes the trail for much of the way until you climb out onto a muddy bank. Then you are back in the jungle until you climb even further still via pre established ropes. This is where I totally lost all semblance of form and just kinda "managed my way" up and down the muddy cliff walls. The ropes made it easy, but my bag and tripod made the going rough. I never complain about the gear-- especially while I am out there-- because you can only take the pictures that your gear will allow. On this trip, I took 2 cameras and 2 lenses-- Canon 5DSR with 21mm Zeiss and a Canon 1DX II with a Canon 24-70. I also had my normal supply of Lee Filters, lens cleaner, extra batteries and Really Right Stuff Tripod. Now, if I were to do it again I would only take one camera, one lens, a much smaller tripod and a much smaller bag. Live and learn. But I can be stubborn. Oh, I almost forgot. I started the day in hiking boots, but changed into felt soled neoprene booties called tabis after about 20 minutes of hiking. The tabis provide excellent traction on the slipper rocks and are a MUST for this hike. I even tried to change out of them after descending from the Weeping Wall, but slipped in the first 10 feet and slipped and fell within the first 100 feet. While tabis provide little to no support, they do provide excellent traction. Next time, I won't even take the boots. I'll take an extra pair of tabis instead. They are that good. You can buy them at Wal Mart in Lihue or any of the fishing shops on island. Your feet will suffer (and back, too) but at least they'll give you the grip you need. (A side note-- try to scrape the mud off the felt soled bottoms each time you enter the stream in order to wash away the mud. This will help provide better traction as you boulder hop and dance your way to the next bank or exit).

Ohia Lehua Flower and Waialeale Wall, approaching the Weeping Wall of Mt. Waialeale, Kauai

The closer you get to the Weeping Wall the more the vegetation changes and the temperature drops. You begin to see Ohia trees, Lehua flowers, ferns and rarer plants endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. This is sacred land and should be respected. Hawaiian myth says that the highest Hawaiian god, Kane, was born on top of Waialeale. Kane is the creator and I felt a pulse or life source when I placed my hand on the wall of Waialeale. How much truth is contained in a myth? All? None? Likely, somewhere in-between.

First View of the Weeping Wall, Mt. Waialeale, Kauai

The above photo shows the fist glimpse of the Weeping Wall. It was taken from a highpoint on the hike, and from here it's about 45 minutes till the end. I find the landscape of the hike interesting in that the destination remains hidden until near the very end. What you think you are walking towards shifts and hides from view until you have exerted enough effort to see. I think Joseph Campbell wrote something about this in The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Those epic journeys really do make us feel like heroes. 

The Weeping WallLife SourceThis is the Weeping Wall— the base of Mt. Waialeale— the piko or navel of Kauai. When I touched the wall I felt vibrations. The mana was flowing from the mountain as a pulse of life. It was as if the mountain had become the heart of Kauai and not only its center. It was a wonderful experience.
Mt. Waialeale, Kauai, Hawaii

Life Source, the Weeping Wall, Mt. Waialeale, Kauai

I placed my hands on the Weeping Wall and felt vibrations. Of course the water was flowing off the mountain, but the mana or power of the place was literally tangible. I could feel it. Waialeale is said to be the piko or navel of Kauai, but for me the mountain became the heart, pulsing with life force.

Wall of Tears, KauaiThe Lightness of BeingThis is the Weeping Wall— the base of Mt. Waialeale— the piko or navel of Kauai. When I touched the wall I felt vibrations. The mana was flowing from the mountain as a pulse of life. It was as if the mountain had become the heart of Kauai and not only its center. I like how the water curves and fans through the air— the lightness of being.
Waialeale, Kauai

The Lightness of Being, the Weeping Wall, Waialeale, Kauai

I left the house at 6:30 AM. Arrived at the Arboretum at 7 and the trailhead at 8. We got back to the FJ at 5:30. And while it was a hard hike, it was an awesome experience. If you would like to do this hike I recommend you go with a guide. The trail is unmaintained, prone to flash flood and difficult to navigate. A guide will also be able to share the cultural significance of the place with you as you enter into the Blue Hole.

Be safe.

Aloha,

Lee

 

PS

Here's a few more...

You can imagine on a day with heavy rains this football-field-long rocky slope would become a torrent of rushing water.

The various curves and undulations of the Weeping Wall and final approach.

The amphitheater of the Weeping Wall. Incidentally the Blue Hole is actually the sky as you look up and out of this natural amphitheater. When I arrived here the sky was overcast so it was more like a Gray Hole than a blue one. 

Weeping WallWeeping WallWaterfalls rush down Mt. Waialeale at the Weeping Wall, Kauai.

One last look before I put the camera away and begin the hike back.

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) adventure blue hole great kauai hikes hawaii hiking hiking kauai kauai kauai photography kauai waterfalls kauai's weeping wall landscape mt. waialeale must do hikes nature outdoors photography by lee scott the weeping wall waialeale waterfall waterfalls waterfalls of kauai waves weeping wall https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/2/to-the-weeping-wall Wed, 28 Feb 2018 00:06:57 GMT
Vignette of a Dream-- Lumahai Beach, Kauai https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/1/vignettes-of-a-dream Below are a series of beach scenes all photographed Wednesday morning at Lumahai Beach. I wanted to convey a certain feeling in these images, and I think of them as vignettes of a dream— little fragments of experiences lived in sleep, and only vaguely remembered upon awaking. 

Upon awaking we look to sleep to continue the play. And rather than rubbing our eyes and sitting up straight we lie and long for the scenes interrupted and the memories we have forgotten. 

We seek to return to sleep if only to reenter the "me" of the dream. To talk to her one more time. To be with him one more moment. To find an answer to all the questions why.

It is difficult to return to the dream. It's like the alarm has caused a shift in time in the dream world of our mind. If we are able to reenter the dream it is often at a moment lost to where we were when we woke up. It's like our dream world went ahead of us. It seems to continue without us. Further reminding us that we are not the only actors in this subconscious play.

Lumahai Beach is just north of Hanalei Bay. There are actually two Lumahai Beaches-- one we call Tourists and the other we call Locals. Lumahai Tourists is the first one that you will come to as you approach from Hanalei. There is pullout parking at the bend as you crest the first hill after Hanalei Bay and the surf spot called Waikokos. To get to the beach you will walk down a path in the woods just to the right of the very limited roadside parking. The path is often muddy and can be quite slippery. 

Lumahai Locals is a little further down and it's the one that I prefer. To get to locals keep heading north and descend the hill. On the left you'll see a beautiful pasture and the mountains as a backdrop. On the right is the parking area for Lumahai Locals. If you go over the one proper bridge on the north shore, than you've gone too far. Locals is right at the river mouth.

Lumahai Locals, looking northwest towards the river mouth.

Lumahai Locals doesn't have the rocks or lava shelf that Tourists has, but for me that's ok because I love the long sweep of beach and the feeling of openness that Locals provide. In the summer you can see the sunrise from either, but only Tourists will give you a chance of watching the sunset. Winter brings big waves to both beaches and because of the rocks, lava shelf and enclosed space of Tourists it is the more dangerous of the two (in my opinion). Of course care and precaution should be taken when photographing either location. When the surf is not too large or when the tides are low it is possible to walk the entire stretch of beach and photograph both locations without getting back into the car. You will often see beach joggers and dog walkers (especially in the mornings) running and walking all the way from Locals to Tourists. 

Fully awake now, we go about the mental process of piecing together vignettes of a dream.

Aloha,

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beach hawaii kauai kauai photography lumahai lumahai beach lumahai locals nature north shore outdoors photography by lee scott seascape sky waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2018/1/vignettes-of-a-dream Sun, 07 Jan 2018 23:16:48 GMT
My Favorite 17 from Adventures 2017 (part 2) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2017/12/my-favorite-17-from-adventures-2017-part-2  

Aloha and welcome back.

Before we continue with the list of images I want to share with you the best locations I encountered during this year's adventures:

  • Best View-- Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, California 
  • Best Pizza-- Escalante Outfitters, Escalante, Utah
  • Best Coffee-- Deep Creek Coffee, Springdale just outside Zion National Park, Utah
  • Best Shower-- Zion Pnderosa Campground, East Zion, Utah
  • Best Campground-- BLM sites off of Hole in the Rock Road, Escalante, Utah
  • Best Hike-- Nevada Falls on the John Muir Trail, Yosemite NP, California
  • Best Backpacking Hike-- Coyote Gulch, Utah
  • Best Place to Look for Desert Big Horn Sheep-- Checkerboard Mesa Area of Zion NP, Utah 
  • Best Waterfall-- Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite NP, California
  • Best Water Source-- Canyon Wall just around the corner of Jacob Hamblin's Arch, Coyote Gulch, Utah
  • Best National Monument That is Shrinking Because of the Current Administration-- Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah
  • Best Place to Use a 4WD-- Vermillion Cliffs National Monument (White Pocket), Arizona
  • Best Place to Take an Early Morning Walk-- Sequoia National Park
  • Best Place to Get Information-- Escalante BLM Office, Escalante, Utah
  • Best Place to Feel Happy and Free and in Love with the Earth and All of Her Gifts-- Yosemite NP, California 

 

#10

Finding My Way on the Hop Valley TrailFinding My Way on the Hop Valley TrailZion National Park, Utah Finding My Way on the Hop Valley Trail, Zion NP, Utah

After hiking Observation Point in the morning I went to the much less visited Kolob Canyon area of Zion NP in the afternoon, looking for quiet, solitude and sunset. I had to wait out a storm, but eventually I found all three along the Hop Valley Trail.

 

#9

Stone OutlineStone OutlineDevil's Garden, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Escalante, Utah Stone Lines (Broken Pieces are Part of the Whole), Devil's Garden, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

I spent a couple of mornings and evenings in Devil's Garden, wandering through the hoodoos in this very pleasant park like section of the vast (but shrinking!) Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Just outside of the charming town of Escalante, about 20 miles off Hole in the Rock Road lies Devil's Garden. Light was good at sunrise and exceptional just before sunset. I imagine night sky and star photos would be excellent here as well. I visited during the full moon and only tried a few star pics from my campsite, which surprisingly enough turned out well. So yeah, definitely hit this place on a new moon and be prepared to be Wowed! For sure.

 

#8

Mesquite Sand DunesMesquite Sand DunesMesquite Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park Lines (Mesquite Sand Dunes), Death Valley National Park, California

Raw. Intense. Windy. Hot. Dry. Harsh. Beautiful. Huge. Death Valley NP is an unforgiving landscape. Immense in scale and challenge. We visited mid May and knew that we were on the cusp of enjoyment and suffering and fell on the latter. We arrived in a desert wind storm and somehow managed to set up campsite in a stinging wind. Then the heat and overall dryness set in on our adventure to the Race Track-- that playa in the middle of nowhere where the rocks move--  and absolutely zapped us of our strength. Out of season, Death Valley is no joke. Highlights to be seen again one winter are: Zabriske Point, Badwater Basin, and the Mesquite Sand Dunes. 

 

#7

Fly (Merlin or Cooper's Hawk), Zion NP, Utah

I found this little raptor while looking for desert big horn sheep in the eastern section of Zion NP. Moral of the story-- you never know what you will find so be ready and open to all things.

 

#6

To Challenge Your World ViewTo Challenge Your World ViewWhite Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona A Landscape to Challenge Your World View, White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona

White Pocket is a world class photo destination. You could spend hour upon hour wandering through this surreal landscape of boiling rock and color. I say boiling rock because it appears as if the stone and rock surface of the landscape is liquid or molten, moving through the desert in lines and streams of color. This is a crazy beautiful place. High clearance 4WD is a must as it is a 2 hour drive over thick sand and desert dirt roads to White Pocket.

 

#5

SublimeSublimeGiant Sequoia tree in Round Meadow on the Big Trees Trail in Giant Sequoia National Park, California

Sublime, Sequoia National Park, California

Have I told you before? I love these trees! 300 feet high. 26 feet in diameter. So perfect in their proportions they look absolutely normal. Completely in harmony with their surroundings. I. Love. These. Trees. They are simply sublime.

 

#4

The Moon and the BoxThe Moon and the BoxBox Wilderness, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Escalante, Utah The Moon and the Box, Box Wilderness, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

My trip to Utah coincided with the full moon and the moon became my travel companion. I came to know it high in the sky  at night, lighting the interior of my tent and casting a bluish hue over the night landscape. In the mornings, I would follow her low on the horizon, trying to bring her into the camera's view. Nature is a gentle Muse.

 

#3

BrainwavesBrainwavesWhite Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona Brainwaves, White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona

More wildness from White Pocket. I was entranced by these sections of "Brain Rock." Rolling stone hills that, yes, resemble brains lying to fry in the desert heat. You've seen the commercial-- This is your brain on drugs-- well, this is your brain on White Pocket. 

 

#2

Strut, Zion Np, Utah

I originally planned to travel to Yellowstone and the Tetons this fall, but changed my trip to southern Utah due to the extensive wild fires and smoke that Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Oregon were experiencing all summer and well into the fall. The whole point of the trip was to photograph wildlife so I was pretty bummed about the change, but cheered up when I found out that there were quite a few desert big horn sheep in Zion NP. In Zion, I spent three days looking for these majestic animals and had a few sightings, but really got lucky on the evening of the third day. I ran into two herds around Checkerboard Mesa in east Zion. This is my favorite photo from the encounter and my favorite from my 2017 southwest adventures.

 

#1

Starry Night and Yosemite FlowStarry Night and Yosemite FlowYosemite was quite busy when we went in early May 2017. Not too bad, but still there were plenty of folks around. Tripods were set up everywhere-- especially at the famous viewpoints-- and the parking lots were often full. But with that being said, we didn't have any problems finding a space (of course we arrived well before sunrise and sunset); and we had reservations in the campsites so we always had a place to pitch tent. But it was still a little busy for our tastes. That's why I really enjoyed photographing the park at night. It was like we had the whole place to ourselves (except for the nights we went chasing moonbows. More on that to come...). Yes, the grey and white granite walls and silky white waterfalls and flow were a night time delight.
Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

Starry Night and Yosemite Flow won nomination in the 12th annual Black and White Spider Awards (Professional Nature Category).

Starry Night and Yosemite Flow, Yosemite NP, California

To be honest I could have put 5 "favorites" from Yosemite onto this list, but rather than do that I chose one to represent the beauty that I found in this incredible national park. We photographed a lot at night and felt that we had the park to ourselves. There were no crowds. No cars. No busses buzzing around. But the park was still so amazingly photogenic. I photographed moonbows in Yosemite Falls; the flashing lights from climbers' head lamps as they moved up the face of the incomparable El Capitan; and one night I photographed the graceful flow of Yosemite Falls under a starry night in the most beautiful place I have ever seen. 

Gratitude.

Aloha,

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) nature outdoors photography by lee scott public lands us national parks https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2017/12/my-favorite-17-from-adventures-2017-part-2 Mon, 01 Jan 2018 04:23:23 GMT
My Favorite 17 from Adventures 2017 https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2017/12/my-favorite-10-from-2017-adventures

Aloha.

After photographing sunset at Pakalas beach the other night, I listened to Freakanomics Radio on NPR. If you are not familiar with the program Freakanomics is a radio show about behavioral economics-- economics, sociology and psychology. This particular night's discussion centered on a behavioral theory called "Tail Winds/Head Winds Asymmetry". This theory basically says that humans tend to focus on the obstacles (head winds) in their lives rather than the blessings in their lives (tail winds). Psychologists Tom Gilovich and Shai Davidai further explained that this tendency of ours to focus attention on obstacles negatively influences our psyche-- and our decision making-- thereby preventing us from being happy. Tail winds on the other hand bring us into a positive state of contentment (albeit brief) like when we are riding a bike with the wind at our backs just pushing us along with blissful rapidity. However, due to the process of adaptation inducing boredom, this state of happiness can be short lived and we soon forget or ignore the blessings of the tail winds and return our focus and negativity to the real (and presumed) obstacles.

So what can we do to ride with the tail winds longer and enjoy the happiness that they bring? The psychologists answer we can do this with gratitude. Gilovich believes that we should expressing gratitude for the tail winds and blessings in our lives so that we can reside in the happiness that they bring. 

So that's what I'll do in this post-- I'll like express my gratitude for the Tail Winds by choosing my favorite 17 images from the off island adventures I had in 2017. I am grateful for the health and the desire to spend time with nature. I am grateful for the planet and the beauty that I find in her. And I am grateful for the safe and exciting adventures that I had while exploring all that the Earth shared with me in 2017.

Let the countdown (and tail winds) begin.

#17 

A Good Place to Rest, Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah

A good place to camp and explore, too! I hiked into the Coyote Gulch from Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and entered into the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area where this photograph was taken. This arch was about 4 miles from my campsite and near to the confluence of the Escalante River and the Coyote Gulch. Over the three days I camped two night; hiked about 22 miles; and explored some incredible scenery in some of our most dramatic and beautiful public lands. Highlights were the majesty of the high canyon walls; the soul stirring echo of raven's wings through the canyon amphitheaters; and the surprises around each successive canyon bend. 

 

#16
Fire ScarFire ScarGiant Sequoias need fire to propagate their seeds and to clear the forest floor from other trees competing for the same sun rays. Extremely fire resistant, Giant Sequoia bark is layered and has pockets of air inside. The trunks are-- surprisingly-- extremely soft. While fires scar the tees, the strongest are still able to live long lives, hundreds and even thousands of years in some instances. These trees are so amazing. Fires burn. Scars heal. And life goes on. I love these trees!
Big Trees Trail, Sequoia National Park, California

Fire Scar, Sequoia National Park, California

I was so impressed with the Giant Sequoias. I love these trees! They are just massive! So tall! So thick! So strong! But oh, so soft. I couldn't believe how soft the bark of these giants were. That's because they have air pockets inside that help them resist fire burn. You see they have to have the heat of the forest fire flames in order to drop seeds and grow. You look around the Giant Sequoia forest and see all of these old trees with fire scars that's because they've survived the fires and grown stronger and older from the heat and trial. When I look at these beautiful trees I see so many lessons for us. Nature is truly the greatest teacher. 

 

#15 Mobius Arch and MoonMobius Arch and MoonIconic Mobius Arch and Moon with high Sierra Peak in the distance.

Mobius Arch and Moon, Alabama Hills Recreation Area, Lone Pine, California

I spent a lot of time working on Mobius Arch. I think I went for sunrise and sunset on two consecutive days and then sunrise on a third day. I feel like this is a place that I need to explore more. And when I do, I'd like to hike up Mt. Whitney as well. You know, since I'll be in the neighborhood. ;-)

 

#14 ShelterShelterNaomi finds shelter inside a fallen Giant Sequoia Tree on the Big Trees Trail around Round Meadow in Giant Sequoia National Park, California. Shelter, Sequoia National Park, California

Naomi finds shelter inside a fallen Giant Sequoia tree on the Big Trees Trail around Round Meadow. She just walked right in. 

 

#13 South Fork Kings RiverSouth Fork Kings RiverA young Giant Sequoia Tree stands at the edge of the South Fork Kings River in the Sequoia National Forest, California. South Fork Kings River, Sequoia National Forest, California

The drive through the Sequoia National Forest from Sequoia National Park to Kings Canyon National Park is one of the great drives on the North American Continent. Compared to others it is short and sweet, but the views of mountain and canyon, river and sequoia are just awesome. On our drive we stopped numerous times to photograph the sites and this photograph is from one of those road side pullouts. The Kings River is flows fast and full with the spring snow melt. I was careful not to get too close to the swollen river and I chose a long exposure to help communicate the flow. The prominent tree on the opposite side of the bank is a young Giant Sequoia. Every time I view this photograph I takes back to that memorable drive. The excitement of adventure and the allure of the road. 

 

#12 Watchtower, ManzanarWatchtower, ManzanarWhen the internees asked, Why are there armed guards? They were told, They are here for your protection. When they asked, Why are the facing us? They were given no answer.
Manzanar National Historic Site, Manzanar, California
Watchtower, Manzanar Manzanar National Historic Site, Manzanar, California

Manzanar is a heavy place. A beautiful place. But a heavy one. In front of you the eastern Sierra Nevada rise into the clouds and the White Mountains do the same at your back. While the history of the place gets blown around by the wind. "There was always the wind," said one of the Japanese-American internees about the place. Stifling heat in the summer. Bitter cold in the winter. And always the wind. Another quote that stays with me from the history was a Japanese-American internee asking why the rifles of the soldiers were pointing inward if they were for the internees "protection." 11,070 Japanese Americans were processed through Manzanar during the second World War. About two-thirds were born American citizens. So the government of the time locked up it's own people. Forced them from their homes. Destroyed their businesses and farm, careers and educations and drove them to one of 10 internment camps in the plains, deserts, swamps and mountains of California, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, and Utah where they were forced to live from 1942 to 1945. Oh, and after they were allowed to leave in 1945 they were not allowed to return to their homes nor even home state. Yeah, Manzanar is heavy place. A beautiful place. A place that all Americans should visit.

 

#11

Lower Calf Creek FallsLower Calf Creek FallsGrand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Escalante, Utah

Lower Calf Creek Falls, Lower Calf Creek Falls State Park, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

Wanna go on an easy hike through a wide desert canyon that ends in a waterfall so enchanting it might just be a portal to another space and time? If so, then Lower Calf Creek Falls is the hike for you.

 

#10 ~ #1 coming soon.

Aloha, 

Lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) adventures alabama hills coyote gulch escalante grand staircase escalante national monument kings canyon kings canyon national park kings river light source hanapepe lone pine lower calf creek falls manzanar manzanar national historic sight nature outdoors photography by lee scott sequoia national forest sequoia national park travel photography travels utah https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2017/12/my-favorite-10-from-2017-adventures Wed, 27 Dec 2017 07:04:25 GMT
Good News from the Garden Island https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2017/9/good-news-from-the-garden-island Aloha,

I hope you are all safe. Naomi and I are thinking of you all-- especially those of you affected by the wildfires in the western US and those in the paths of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Here on Kauai the days are getting a little shorter and the waves are beginning to show up again on the north shore. Fall is slowly approaching and for several days these past several weeks I have been photographing pueo or hawaiian short eared owls in Waimea Canyon. You can see these results and other new photographs in the Recent Work Gallery.

I'd also like to share with you some good news everyone's favorite local newspaper-- The Garden Island. The article below was published August 20th and features my photograph Pop the Top, which won the Audubon Community Nature Center Photo Contest in Jamestown, NY. The article also talks about how I got started with photography and the support that I have received from others along the way-- especially Naomi. 

Once again, I hope you are all safe and well and I thank you for your continued support. Have a great fall and know that all skies clear. 

Mahalo nui loa!

Aloha, Lee

 

http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/scott-wins-national-photography-contest/article_20d6f76c-16d9-5322-be64-241a4456d4eb.html

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii kauai kauai photography north shore photo contest photography by lee scott pop the top press wave https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2017/9/good-news-from-the-garden-island Thu, 14 Sep 2017 04:16:58 GMT
Kauai Morning, Kauai Evening https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/12/kauai-morning-kauai-evening Aloha. Here are a few photographs from yesterday, December 4, 2016. I started the day with an early morning drive to Poipu where I walked a mile or so along the Heritage Trail for sunrise. 

Cloudy skies welcomed the day and added a bit of mystery to my favorite south shore scene.

I love finding ways to make waterfalls out of ocean water. Here the surf is returning to sea and cascades over a v shaped gap in the lava shelf.

PoipuLast Hawaiian WarriorHeritage Trail, Poipu, Kauai The Last Hawaiian Warrior looks out to sea and sky.

For evening I went to the North Shore where again cloudy skies held sway. However, this time they held the promise of sunset colors. 

You know me, I can't resist slowing the shutter and letting the water spin and dance.

And a little longer for a little more flow as the "Pool of Death" drains out.

North Shore Magic (Wallah!)North Shore Magic (Wallah!)Princeville, Kauai The clouds lived up to their potential and blessed the North Shore with a sky of beautiful pinks and blues. 

A splash for the road home. 

Aloha, 

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai beach hawaii hiking kauai kauai photography landscape nature nature photography north shore outdoors photography by lee scott poipu seascape sky sunset waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/12/kauai-morning-kauai-evening Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:28:43 GMT
A Few More First Shots with the Zeiss 15mm Milvus https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/12/a-few-more-first-shots-with-the-zeiss-15mm-milvus Galaxies on the ShoreA wave washes onto the Dark Brown shore at Driftwood Beach, Waimea, Kauai. Driftwood Beach, Waimea, Kauai

Here are a few more photos taken with the new Zeiss 15 mm Milvus. I think these show nicely the wide angle of view that this lens offers. All of these photos were taken on Kauai's west side one day last week. 

Tree and Evening LightA massive tree reaches for the evening light at Waimea Plantation Cottages, Waimea, Kauai. Waimea Plantation Cottages, Waimea, Kauai

The Waimea Plantation Cottages just past Waimea Town is one of my favorite places on island. The grounds are incredibly lush and beautiful. If you like trees and the feeling of "Old Time Hawaii", then this is definitely your kind of place. Highly recommended. 

Salt Ponds and Coconut TreesCoconut Palm trees sway in the morning breeze at Salt Ponds Beach Park, Hanapepe, Kauai.

Salt Ponds Beach Park, Hanapepe, Kauai

Salt Ponds Beach ParkCoconut Palm trees sway in the morning breeze at Salt Ponds Beach Park, Hanapepe, Kauai. Salt Ponds Beach Park, Hanapepe, Kauai

Salt Ponds Beach Park is just a few minutes away from my Hanapepe Gallery. Stop by and see both on your next trip to Kauai. Mahalo!

Aloha,

Lee 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Driftwood Beach, Waimea Kauai Kauai West Side Salt Ponds Beach Park hawaii kauai kauai photography landscape nature photography by lee scott seascape https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/12/a-few-more-first-shots-with-the-zeiss-15mm-milvus Thu, 01 Dec 2016 18:03:57 GMT
Getting the Feel For It-- Zeiss Milvus 15mm https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/11/getting-the-feel-for-it---zeiss-milvus-15mm  

Low Tide at Tunnels

Tunnels Beach, Haena State Park, Kauai

I've been photographing with a new lens these past couple of days-- a Zeiss Milvus 15 mm. It is a wide angle, manual focus, prime lens (a prime lens has a fixed focal length, i.e.-- no zoom capabilities). 

I like it.

I've thought about purchasing a Zeiss Classic 15mm for several years, but the lack of weather protection and permanent lens hood made me hesitant. So when I heard that the 15 would become updated for the Milvus Line-- complete with weather sealing and removable lens hood I was stoked. I was so committed that I paid for the lens "Pre-order" so that it would ship as soon as it came to market. Unfortunately, it didn't arrive in time for my late October trip to Glacier National Park, Montana, but that's probably for the best. This lens is wider than anything I have every used before and it has taken me a while to get used to it's ultra wide view. 

Tunnels Beach, Haena State Park, Kauai

Tunnels Beach, Haena State Park, Kauai

Another issue that took some time getting used to relates to the wide view and that is the vignetting caused by the Zeiss circular polarizer that I purchased with the lens. The polarizing elements of the filter were great, but the corner vignetting was terrible when used with my full frame Canon 5DSR. I actually had to crop the above photo to remove the unsightly corners. The vignetting that I experienced was a combination of dark corners and white/bluish corners. It was awful. Oh, and one more issue-- the 95mm filter ring adapter that I purchased with the lens so I could use my LEE ND filters-- causes even worse vignetting. Completely unusable. I reckon you loose about 1/8 of the image trying to trim around the black in all four corners. This was very disappointing. So much so that I contemplated returning the lens. And by contemplate, I mean like a full day of strife and Hamlet-like angst about what I should do. You see, I really like how the Zeiss 15mm Milvus renders the scene, especially oceans and moving water. Like the waves in this pic.

Polihale Beach, Polihale State Park, Kauai 

or this one

Polihale Beach, Polihale State Park, Kauai 

Pretty cool, right. So I've decided to keep the lens and return the Zeiss Filter and exchange it for a Heliopan Polarizer that (hopefully) will not cause vignetting. (The two photographs from Polihale Beach were taken last night with no filter, straight glass). As for the LEE adapter, I don't know what I am going to do about that.... Any ideas out there? Kinda an expensive lens to not be able to use ND filters and what not. Even makes the removable lens hood unimportant. 

Anyway, likes and dislikes of the Zeiss 15mm Milvus lens are:

  • "Painterly" rendition of the scene. I love how the water looks as if it were created with a brush.
  • Fantastic rendition of color, beautiful saturation
  • Extremely wide view
  • Outstanding build quality with weather sealing/dust protection (very important for what I mostly photograph-- Kauai seascapes).
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Can accept filters
  • I find the focus to be much more accurate than the similarly manual focus only Zeiss 21mm Milvus that I once owned
  • Sharp

And for the dislikes:

  • Finding the appropriate filter has been problematic and is not yet fully resolved
  • Price

More pics from this awesome lens will be popping up in the online gallery and hopefully in the Hanapepe gallery real soon. 

Have a fantastic day. 

Aloha,

Lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai Zeiss 21mm Milvus Zeiss 21mm Milvus for Canon Zeiss Milvus 21mm lens beach hawaii kauai kauai photography landscape nature north shore ocean photography by lee scott seascape sky sunset water waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/11/getting-the-feel-for-it---zeiss-milvus-15mm Wed, 30 Nov 2016 22:32:20 GMT
A Sense of Place https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/7/a-sense-of-place "A place is a piece of the whole environment that has been claimed by the feelings." 

          ~ Alan Gussow

 

I came across the above quote while reading The Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich. Heinrich uses this idea of place to identify home, a location that he describes as both physically and psychologically comfortable and familiar. And while I agree that a home is indeed a place that is familiar, I think, too, that this idea of place can also apply to the unfamiliar-- to the places where we travel, to the places we explore and to the places of art and photography.

Homage to the Sun and MoonHomage to the Sun and MoonCapitol Reef National Park, Utah

2016 Monochrome Awards Honorable Mention, Professional Landscape Category.
2016 Spider Awards Nominee in the Professional Nature Category.
Homage to the Sun and Moon, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA

 

I often say that the strongest images come when a relationship has been developed with the scene. Perhaps it is nothing more than a relationship of comfort, like Mr. Gussow suggests. Or maybe the scene creates a sense of awe, or some kind of inspiration. Or perhaps the scene stirs the opposite, resulting in discomfort or anxiety.

I readily admit that sometimes this relationship can be akin to love at first sight, and everything just clicks, making the creative process easy and the truths found readily discernable. But most often this relationship between the photographer and the land develops over time, walks, hikes, and multiple drives. Time spent alone. Time spent with oneself. Time spent feeling the local. It is a relationship deeper than passive evocation. It is a relationship that takes work and action because it is ultimately a relationship based on an understanding of the self gained through time with the land.

 

Finding Zen in ZionFinding Zen in ZionI found a beautiful zen garden. It's called Zion National Park, Utah, USA

 Finding Zen in Zion, Zion National Park, Utah, USA

 

Lost in a MazeLost in a MazeMountain Sheep Canyon, Navajo Nation, Arizona, USA

Maze, Mountain Sheep Canyon, Navajo Nation, Arizona, USA

 

I get the words, and then I get to thinkin'

I don't wanna think, I wanna feel

And how do I feel?

       ~ Pearl Jam

 

When I am in nature I feel her presence. I feel the mountain. I feel the surf, the wave, the energy, the light. The act of taking the photograph helps me come to terms with these feelings and emotions, and in this sense the creative experience becomes the ultimate experience. We can never photograph the entire scene-- no matter how wide our lens or deep the zoom. So what is it that choose to put in the frame. And why? Where is the sense of place, the feeling in the scene? And is it translated into the frame? These are just some of the ideas that I try to conceptualize in my photography. Hopefully I am successful, and the viewer and I are both able to connect deeper with one another and to the land that holds us.  

 

The Morning RoadThe Morning RoadOn the road just outside of Monument Valley, the sun rises at our backs as the day lies before us with all the possibility of health, adventure and promise.
Monument Valley, Navajo Nation, Utah, USA

The Morning Road, Monument Valley, Navajo Nation, Arizona

 

Thanks for reading.

Aloha,

Lee

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Arizona Capitol Reef National Park Cathedral Valley Monument Valley Navajo Park on the road photography by lee scott road trip Temple of the Moon Temple of the Sun Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon Capitol Reef National Park travel photography Utah wanderlust Zion National Park https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/7/a-sense-of-place Sat, 30 Jul 2016 22:16:36 GMT
Mahalo Kapa'a. Aloha Hanapepe! https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/5/mahalo-kapaa-aloha-hanapepe Aloha. Three years ago I opened my first photo gallery in Kapa'a. When I started the business I didn't know what the hell I was doing. But I showed up, continued to take pictures and things worked out well. But I was always looking for a new space to open a new gallery. So eight months ago when I opened my second gallery on Kauai's west side, in the eccentric art town of Hanapepe, I felt that I might have found a new home for Light Source. And last month I got the chance to make that feeling a reality. I completely renovated and expanded the Hanapepe location and am stoked to showcase my photography exclusively from this west side gallery. 

The timing is right, too. Since my lease in Kapa'a is up at the end of the month I know it's the right time to let that gallery go. So from May 9th, 2016 the Kapa'a location is officially closed. And I feel awesome about the decision. It was a great start, and I am incredibly thankful for the patrons who visited me there. But it is time to move on to bigger and better spaces. So the next time you are on Kauai come see me in Hanapepe town. I'll have more black and white images; more travel pics; and more nature photography from the magnificent US National Parks, beginning with a few of the parks in southern Utah. I leave tomorrow night for three weeks shooting in Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP, Capitol Reef NP and a few places in between. I am really looking forward to the trip and am excited about showing you some of the results upon my return. In the meantime, let's celebrate. Let's celebrate three years in Kapa'a and welcome many, many more in Hanapepe. Let's have a SALE! All digitally signed prints are 30% OFF from now until JUNE 1st. Use the coupon code HANAPEPE30 at checkout.*

Here's a quick look at the new space in Hanapepe

Have an awesome day.

Aloha,

Lee

 

*All orders will be processed and shipped after I return from Utah June 1st. Thank you for your understanding.

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hanapepe Hanapepe, Kauai Light Source Photography by Lee Scott hawaii kauai nature nature photography photography by lee scott https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/5/mahalo-kapaa-aloha-hanapepe Mon, 09 May 2016 23:41:48 GMT
Planning a Shot https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/4/planning-a-shot

In this post I'll try to explain one of the approaches I often take when planning a shot. 

I'll think about a location, time of day/night, and what it is that I wish to express or communicate. What is it about the location that I find cool or interesting. What is it that I am trying to get people to relate to? 

In truth, these questions don't often come in one shoot. And they are even less likely to be answered on a single visit to a given location. I believe the strongest images come when a relationship with a place has been developed. Of course, sometimes it's love at first sight, and you get the shot then and there. But on (most?) other occasions, I find that a quality image comes with time spent together-- listening, observing, seeing. Creating. That's why I'll often just sit and watch before even taking the camera out of the bag. And that's why I go through the days shoot, looking critically at the work I did. There's no perfect picture, but there are certainly ideas and feelings that can be imperfectly conveyed through mistakes in composition, lighting, technique and settings. It's like sometimes, we (me and nature) were both there, but I misunderstood the conversation. Or perhaps, I just wasn't listening as well as I should have been. These are the times when I go back home and make notes like the one above. Put it in my pocket and hike out there again on another day.

******

You can see this series of hiking, shooting, reviewing, repeating, refining in the following pics.

Location: Heritage Trail (just beyond the stables and before Mahaulepu beach)

Time of Day: Sunrise

heritage trail 3.15, 16mm, f/7.1 @ 45sec. (ND filter)

I took this pic in March 2015. Ideas that I had after viewing it:

Likes

  1. the colors! the blues and the reds and how they work together in the scene!

Don't Likes

  1. water is a bit too calm-- i would like to see more movement and perhaps POWER in the scene. 
  2. sky-- too dull. to many clouds. too dark
  3. rock is too dark. needs light on it to brighten up the scene and really show the beauty of the golden red hues in the rock
  4. too soft around the edges

Next time try

  1. "Better" light
  2. Convey movement of the ocean
  3. tighter lens 
  4. ND OK

 

heritage trail 4.5.16, 24mm, f/6.3 @ 4 sec (ND filter)

Likes

  1. the colors of ocean
  2. colors of the rock
  3. combination of colors
  4. movement of the ocean seen in the lines under the rock

Don't Likes

  1. lens choice-- too tight. can't ease into the scene.
  2. no "drama" or eye candy in sky-- would be better to have more sky and perhaps clouds in the sky. everyone loves a few clouds!
  3. ocean too calm. Although the ND filter smooths the ocean would be better if there was a south swell (south shore!) or wind swell in the water (southeast location)

Next Time Try

  1. Go when there is ocean activity-- either a south swell or windy conditions that create wind swell so waves or ocean crashes against the cliff-- show how the cliff is remade and reshaped. forces of nature, elements of nature.
  2. Just after sunrise is best?
  3. No ND filter-- just a polarizer

*******

So after two visits over a year apart I developed a strategy and a plan to shoot this rock that I sometimes call Westeros (in homage to Game of Thrones) and at other times Snaggle Tooth. Here is the basic plan that I thought out:

Location: Heritage Trail (beyond the stables, but before Mahaulepu Beach)

Time of Day: Sunrise-- soft, warm light to accentuate the color of rocks and lighten the color of the ocean

Weather: Clear or partly cloudy with Swell in the ocean

Wish to Communicate:

  1. Movement and patterns in the ocean (in keeping with my style) 
  2. force/power of the ocean to hint at it's role in shaping the coastline
  3. ocean color and depth
  4. colors of the Heritage Trail along Kauai's south shore
  5. pleasing sky (weather and proportion of sky within the composition)

Logistics for the shoot: 

  1. Wake up at 4am 
  2. Leave house by 4.45am
  3. Drive to Shipwrecks, park at public parking
  4. Begin hike around 5.30 am (no later than 5:45)
  5. be at location and set up by sunrise @ 6.20 am
  6. lens-- zeiss 21mm milvus (manual focus prime)

heritage trail 4.8.16, 21mm, f/16 @ 1/5 sec, circular polarizer

Fortunately I didn't have to wait too long for the conditions that I was looking for. The trade winds kicked up and brought 28-30 mph gusts along the northeast, east and south eastern shores. With winds like that, I knew I would have the chance to photograph a lively ocean. And I did. It's just that my favorite shots from the day have a little spray on the filter and the images are not as clear as I would like them to be. And secondly, there's one little shadow that I don't like. You can see it in the lower right corner in the picture below...

heritage trail 4.8.16, 21mm, f/16 @ 1/5 sec, circular polarizer

Hike, shoot, review, refine, repeat. 

Enjoy the work.

Keep at it.

Grind away.

After this shoot I felt like I was getting closer to what I wanted, but still not there. So the likes, don't likes and things to try again...

Likes

  1. Ocean color and movement (like a painting)
  2. Color of cliff
  3. Sky
  4. Lens choice

Don't Likes

  1. Spray on lens
  2. Not enough rock/cliff in foreground
  3. Shadow in right corner

Next Time Try

  1. Lens cap on until perfect light for shot. Stay disciplined
  2. more rock in foreground
  3. Keep aperture range and shutter speed range around f/13~ f/16 and 1/5 to .5 seconds
  4. Draw compositional ideas and take with (see sketch at beginning of post)

***********

So after these shoots and sketches I went out again a couple of days later and this is what I saw:

heritage trail 4.11.16, 21mm, f/13 @ .5 sec, circular polarizer

Pretty good, but perhaps a little more light on the cliffs would be nice, too. What do you think?
 
Snaggle ToothSnaggle ToothThe Heritage Trail is full of sights like this one-- swirling blue waters and jagged, snuggle tooth cliffs.
Poipu, Kauai

Snaggle Tooth, 4.11.16, 21mm, f/13 @ 1/3 sec, circular polarizer

Likes-- everything :-)

 

Aloha, 

Lee

 

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Heritage Trail Kauai Kauai photographer Kauai photography Light Source Hanapepe Light Source Photography by Lee Scott Nature Photography Photo tips Poipu Pro Photo tips hiking Kauai nature ocean outdoors water https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/4/planning-a-shot Fri, 15 Apr 2016 02:10:31 GMT
Wild Horses Run-- Waves and Imaginings https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/1/wild-horses-run---waves-imaginings-and-more

Wild Horses Run, Princeville, Kauai

Little FujiLittle FujiA wave rises like a little mountain. Hokusai had it right.
Princeville, Kauai

Little Fuji, Princeville, Kauai

El Nino has brought us waves. Warning level swell and wave after wave have been rolling in to the North Shore almost from the beginning of January to the present. Today, too, brings new Warning Level surf and forecasts show yet another Warning Level North West Swell arriving Sunday. I love photographing waves, but sometimes when it gets to Warning Level size (20+ foot faces) choosing where to shoot (safely) becomes a real challenge. 

Usually with these really big swells the waves break far off shore, in the deeper waters, making it difficult to photograph from the beach. Another consideration with the big swells is coastal flooding, storm surge, and a basic "washing machine" effect that turns some of my favorite beaches into a chaotic frothy mess of rushing white water and foam. Not good for camera gear or wallets and cell phones that are tucked away in back pockets! 

Bluffs and coastal overlooks offer good vantage points of the large surf, but lava shelves are even better. Only thing is, these shelves are much lower and therefore much more dangerous than the higher positions. I guess it just comes down to risk versus reward and to your own personal comfort level. Me, I like the lava shelves, but I'll only go to a few of them and only the highest ones during Warning Level Swell. These photos were all taken at eastern side of the Queen's Bath area lava shelf, well to the right of the waterfalls. I didn't even venture to the western side as it was just too dangerous. Again, risk versus reward.

 

Down the LineDown the Line

Down the Line, Princeville, Kauai

 

I often wonder how many different colors of blue is the ocean? And how many different colors is the ocean? It trips me out when people come into the gallery and look at an image of the ocean and ask, "Did you add color to that?" or "Is that the real color?" I try to just say something like, "Thanks for asking. I'm glad you like it. Yes, all of the colors are authentic to the experience. It all depends on the light. And of course, when dealing with water, the volume, depth, movement and what's underneath." But what I really want to say is, Have you ever been to the ocean??? Just go and look at it. Spend time near her. Sit with her in all weather and seasons and light and then come back to me. The photographer is not really concerned with what you have seen or experienced. In many ways, their responsibility is to show you what is possible. So the seascape photographer should show you all the different colors of the ocean. And try to communicate the wonderful experience of discovery.

 

White Water and LightWhite Water and Light White Water and Light, Princeville, Kauai

Looking back at all of these pictures I am reminded of the best movie I saw in 2015: Mad Max: Fury Road. The rolling waves spread throughout the ocean are like Furiosa and the pole boys journey through the Namib and Australian deserts. The spray and rip curl are like the dust behind the totally gonzo machines of that epic ride. I was totally unprepared for the colors, movement and sounds of Fury Road. Sitting in the theater was like paddling out into a huge swell that simply takes your breath away. I've recently rematched the movie a couple of times on HBO and love it still. The cinematography and direction are outstanding. The themes of gender equality and ecological genocide are important for our times. And the flame throwing guitar playing hood ornament and taiko drums are fucking awesome.

 

Aloha, 

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) BW photography Hawaii Kauai Mad Max: Fury Road Mad Max: Fury Road review black and white photography hawaii kauai kauai photography metaphors nature north shore ocean photography outdoors photography by lee scott seascape seascapes waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2016/1/wild-horses-run---waves-imaginings-and-more Thu, 21 Jan 2016 01:32:04 GMT
A Few Black and White Photos from Time Recently Spent in the Canyon and Koke'e https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/12/a-few-black-and-white-from-the-canyon-and-kokee Over the past couple of weeks I've spent quite a bit of time hiking in Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Parks. My time in Waimea Canyon has been spent mostly on the Canyon Trail, and of course, Waimea Canyon Drive-- that beautiful winding road that leads up the parks and cools you off with each gently sloping switchback. 

Passing Showers along Waimea Canyon Drive (bw)Passing Showers along Waimea Canyon Drive (bw)Winter showers sweep over the ocean towards Niihau as the sun sets lower. Soon both Niihau and the sun will be blocked by the quickly moving clouds.
Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai

Passing Showers along Waimea Canyon Drive (bw), Waimea, Kauai

I took the above photo just before sunset on Tuesday December 22. My wife and I drove up to the canyon for some fresh air and on the way down, stopped to watch the clouds play with sun. The island in the distance is Niihau or the "Forbidden Island." It's privately owned by the Robinson Family, and I've heard that you must have an invitation to visit. Other than that, I don't know much about it. As far as picture taking goes, I think it is best to shoot Niihau from various turnouts along Waimea Canyon Dive, and I find winter light best because the sun sets just off Niihau's western edge (left of frame).

One of my favorite trees on island-- this Australian Paperbark Tree-- is literally right behind where I stood for the Niihau shot above. Turn around, cross the road, and there she is. This is the same tree in one of my top selling photos-- Koke'e Night Sky. It's interesting to see how much it has grown in the last year or so. That's one reason why photography is so amazing-- everything changes. Nature is always moving. Our feelings are always changing. And so too our perspective-- if we have an open mind. Openness and the belief that we know nothing. And an understanding that our personal experience-- no matter how varied-- is always limited.

 

Road Trip (Waimea Canyon Drive), Waimea, Kauai

One of the things I miss about the mainland is the great american road trip. There are some days I'd just love to hop in the truck and drive to a completely new place with completely new (and fresh!) scenery. Especially now as I am researching for a photo trip to southern Utah. Oh the distances to be covered! Is it any wonder that one of my all-time favorite books is On the Road by Jack Kerouac? 

 

A couple of Ohia Trees. The first one is around the Alakai Swamp trailhead. And the second is along the Canyon Trail. I find such grace and dignity in these wiry trees. They grow in somewhat harsh environments and have such beautiful red flowers, full of such energy and defiance(?). It's almost as if they shake their spindly petals at the wind and say, you won't deter me! I will grow! I will grind! I will be! :-) (Perhaps a little too much personal personification, there....).

 

If you've ever pulled off to the side of the road to look at a two-tiered waterfall flowing into the northwest corner of Waimea Canyon, then you've seen Waipo'o Falls. And if you've ever hiked the Canyon Trail, then you've probably stood right here, smiling with the sound of Waipo'o Falls rushing by (in winter) or maybe you've even hopped onto the rocks in the middle of the falls to get a killer view of the canyon (in summer). Either way, the Canyon Trail is a fun hike any time of the year. Just be prepared for slick, muddy conditions in winter, and drier conditions in summer. 

 

Over the years I've probably taken hundreds of pictures of the boardwalks lying along the Alakai Swamp Trail. It's one of my most favorite hikes on the island. Through jungle and forest and eventually swamp, it leads you through a surreal landscape that ends with this view:

 

Aloha and Melekalikimaka!

Lee

 

All photos in this blog entry were taken in the last two weeks (December 12-24, 2015) except the first Ohia Tree which was taken in the middle of November 2015. 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Alakai Swamp Trail Hawaii Kauai Kilohana Lookout Waimea Canyon Waimea Canyon Drive Waimea Canyon State Park Waipoo Falls black and white photography hawaii hiking hiking Kauai kauai kauai photography landscape landscape photography nature nature photography photography by lee scott trails waterfalls https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/12/a-few-black-and-white-from-the-canyon-and-kokee Thu, 24 Dec 2015 22:00:11 GMT
7 Kauai Hikes Not Named The Kalalau Trail (part 3) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/7/7-kauai-hikes-not-named-the-kalalau-trail-part-3 Aloha and welcome back to 7 Kauai Hikes Not Named the Kalalau Trail. Today's entry is part 3 in the series and covers one hike that I relish and one hike that I don't. First, the relish--

​The Alakai Swamp Trail-- 8 miles, moderately difficult (beginning from the Alakai Swamp Trail Head, but difficult from the Pihea Trail Head)

crossroads (on the path)Crossroads (On the Path)this photo shows the intersection of the pihea trail and alakai swamp trail in koke'e state park.
koke'e state park, kauai

OK. Here's the deal. This is one of my all time favorite hikes. You can begin it at the Pihea Trailhead at end of Waimea Canyon Drive or if you have 4WD you can start from the Alakai Swamp Trailhead near Sugi Grove Campground. If you start from the Pihea Trail expect a muddy and slippery first mile and a half. But you will have awesome views into the Kalalau Valley during that first difficult mile. As amazing as those views are, I prefer beginning from the Alakai Swamp Trailhead for a couple of reasons. One, I like wheeling. Two, it's easier. Three, it's faster, which is often important if you are trying to get shots at either end of golden hour.

The Alakai Swamp Trail may be the greenest trail on Kauai. It is filled with vegetation and plant life. The smells are amazing on this hike. The air is so fresh. The ground so rich. The varieties leaves and shades of green that you will see is just spectacular. It's like walking into a different landscape and every time I go up there I am amazed that I am on the same island that I woke up on. It is just so different from anything else on Kauai. It is often cloudy and wet on the hike, but this seems to add a hint of mystery to the adventure. About half of the trail is covered in boardwalk which makes it easier on my knees than some of Kauai's other trails. But at 8 miles with some elevation change and one stream to cross, it can be a long and difficult hike. But so much fun!

 

which do you like? the straight and narrow?

 

or the twisty turny?

On clear days you may possibly see Hanalei and the Wainiha Valley at the Kilohana Lookout, the trail's end. I hiked The Alakai Swamp Trail 6 times before I finally saw Hanalei and it's a trip. I was like, "That's Hanalei!" That's the north shore! But I'm all the way up here in Koke'e! It's so strange to think that you've driven 2 and half hours, hiked 4 miles just to see one of the places on the island that you know so well. But not from this perspective. Not from this vantage point. And not from this altitude. I remember looking down onto Hanalei and thinking, "What a perfect shape. The place is magic.

Hanalei Bay under the clouds, a little circle filled in in blue and surrounded in green.

 

 

 

The Wainiha Valley seen from the Kilohana Lookout at the end of The Alakai Swamp Trail.

 

A rare day on the Alakai Swamp Trail when there wasn't a cloud in the sky. 

***

Now for the hike that-- I gotta be honest-- I don't like that much. It's a good hike and all and it has great views, but it hurts my knees. It's just too much straight downhill on very loose or potentially loose red, Waimea Canyon dirt. I had a shredded meniscus removed from my right knee about 3 years ago long descending hikes are tough on me. It seems that I can take elevation drops and gains better when they are disturbed throughout the hike, rather than all at once downhill. And when you add in the many bugs and insects in the jungle-forrest at the bottom of the canyon this trail just doesn't do it for me. It is

The Kukui Trail-- 5 miles, difficult, Waimea Canyon

The Kukui Trail doesn't really have a parking area, but there is a little stretch of road between mile marker 8 and 9 on Waimea Canyon Drive where hikers park their cars. It's easy to miss and so is the Kukui Trail sign so be on the lookout. The trail begins at a short nature loop, which also offers nice views into Waimea Canyon. Once on the trail you begin descending almost immediately as you wind your way through Koa and Lehua Trees. Once out of the forest the views open up and the soil gets drier and more brittle. Watch your footing! On this trail, trekking poles are especially useful!

The inside walls of Waimea Canyon shine brightly in the light of the new sun. Check out Waipo'o Falls in the distance, too.

 

​The Kukui Trail descends from the rim of Waimea Canyon to the Waimea River 2 and one half miles below.

 

The trail leads you off the red dirt and into the green forest below where tons of mosquitos play. There are some cool side trails down by the river and they are definitely worth exploring, but I really have spent too much time adventuring down there. Maybe one day we explore it together. 

For photography I find the light in Waimea Canyon to be the most difficult of anywhere on island. Perhaps I am being a tad persnickety, but be forewarned-- patience and effort are a virtue. (Side tangent-- anytime someone says to me Right Place. Right Time. I respond back-- Right Preparation. Right Effort. Right Patience make it look like Right Place. Right Time. :-) ).

  Next time we'll continue on our hiking tour with the final two trails of 7 Kauai Hikes Not Named the Kalalau Trail. Stay tuned and happy trails!

Aloha,

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai hawaii hiking kauai kauai photography landscape landscape photography nature nature photography outdoors photography by lee scott https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/7/7-kauai-hikes-not-named-the-kalalau-trail-part-3 Thu, 16 Jul 2015 23:33:41 GMT
7 Kauai Hikes Not Named The Kalalau Trail (part 2) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/7/7-kauai-hikes-not-named-the-kalalau-trail-part-2 Alright, to review-- 7 Kauai Hikes Not Named the Kalalau Trail is all about getting to know a few of the other and also outstanding hikes on Kauai. Everyone knows the Kalalalu Trail and while it is indeed an awesome hike I'd like to introduce a couple of other hikes to hopefully ease our collective footprint on Ke'e, Haena and the far north shore. I think, too, that adventuring out to some of the other trails on the island will further develop our relationship and love for Kauai. Part 1 introduced two easy hikes-- the Okolehao Trail and Sleeping Giant. This edition will introduce an easy south shore hike-- The Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail in Poipu.

The Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail-- Poipu, about 4 miles roundtrip (???), easy

graced by timegraced by timepinnacles

This is my favorite place on the south shore and I really like this hike. It's by far the easiest hike of the 7 and the easiest to get to-- just drive to Shipwrecks (Keoneloa Bay) and park in the small public lot right next to the Hyatt. The trail begins at Shipwrecks beach. Climb up on the bluff and walk south towards Maha'ulepu beach. The entire hike is coastal, leisurely and quite easy. The footing is a little unstable in some areas, but the real dangers are the heat (especially in midday) and falling off the many seaside bluffs that are actually lithified sand dunes. So be careful! (That's what Naomi always says to me before I go out there :-) ). The photo above is from an area about 20 minutes into the trail called The Pinnacles. The photo below was taken on top of Makahuena (the bluff at the south end of Shipwrecks). It is the southernmost tip of Kauai and cool place to watch the ocean and sky with a cup of coffee. 

 

 

Great views and the trail is just beginning! This trail is also a popular running circuit so if you are a runner or just enjoy a quick jog in nature definitely lace 'em up and have a go. The first 1/2 mile or so is a little sandy and there are many offshoots zigzagging through the dunes, but remember all roads lead to Rome or in this case Maha'ulepu. 

The summer brings big waves to the south shore and this hike is a great place to watch the ocean churn and bang against the coastline. On a sunny day the waters are a beautiful turquoise blue. This stretch of the southern rocky coast has perhaps the most beautiful ocean water on Kauai. My only complaint about the trail is that it borders the Poipu Bay Golf Course, and their is one section of about 200 yards where you have to walk along the edge of the artificial and intrusive (in my mind) course. You'll also pass the stables where paniolos can go horseback riding and experience the south shore like a real cowboy.

Looking towards Maha'ulepu beach on a cloudy morning at sunrise. This spot is just past the stables.

deep blue south shore waters and a carved coastline under a sky of clouds. They say that Poipu is the sunny south shore, but when I go I always seem to get my share of clouds! Maybe I bring them with me from the north shore!!!

A red sky at dawn welcomes Naomi and I as we wait for the sun to rise. Pretty much any southeast facing point along the trail is a good place to catch sunrise, but  not sunset as the trail takes you further away from the west. 

 

The beach at Maha'ulepu near the end of the trail is one of the most secluded beaches on the island. Get there early and you will likely have the place all to yourself. On windy days Maha'ulepu is a popular place for kite surfing. There is no lifeguard so be careful, know your limits, and understand that the currents out here are predictably heavy and strong. 

There is so much that I could say about this hike. I definitely think it is one of the best on the island. Easily accessible, not difficult, amazing colors along the trail, rich in culture and history. It's just a fantastic walk. And if you would like more information on the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail please, visit this incredibly informative link at http://www.hikemahaulepu.org. There you'll find much more info on the flora, fauna and archeology of the area.

Aloha, 

Lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Mahaulepu Mahaulepu Heritage Trail Poipu beach hawaii hiking kauai kauai photography nature photography by lee scott south shore https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/7/7-kauai-hikes-not-named-the-kalalau-trail-part-2 Sat, 11 Jul 2015 21:53:17 GMT
7 Kauai Hikes Not Named The Kalalau Trail (part 1) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/7/7-kauai-hikes-not-named-the-kalalau-trail-part-1 The Kalalau Trail is the most famous hike on Kauai and in the summertime the trail-- and especially the parking lots and road from Haena to Ke'e-- gets incredibly busy. I would even suggest that from 10am to around 4pm parking is a disaster out there. And the trail, too, may be suffering from overuse. One of the great things about Kauai is the sense of seclusion that the island gives. Her nature is so vast and so varied that you can often find yourself alone in her nurturing beauty. But with the summertime crowds and the growing popularity of the Kalalalu Trail (especially to Hanakapi'ai beach), you may want to try other hikes around the island in order to commune peacefully with Mama Kauai. Visiting other trails will help to more evenly distribute our adventure footprint as well as enhance our perspective and understanding of this amazing island as we begin to see her from different views. By exploring her other paths our relationship with the island deepens. 

The 7 Hikes that I will introduce below are of varying levels of difficulty, but it must be said most are in the moderate to difficult range. The reason being, I just don't know that many easy hikes on Kauai. The heat, elevation gain/loss, and length make most hikes on the island moderately difficult. However, all of the  hikes listed below are fun(!) and there are a few moderately easy ones, too. So without further adieux

7 Kauai Hikes Not Named the Kalalau Trail

  1. The Okolehau Trail-- North Shore
  2. Sleeping Giant (Nounou)-- East Side
  3. The Heritage Trail-- South Shore
  4. The Alakai Swamp Trail-- Koke'e State Park
  5. The Kukui Trail-- Waimea Canyon State Park
  6. Honopu Ridge Trail-- Koke'e State Park (not maintained)
  7. Kohua Trail-- Waimea Canyon State Park (requires 4 Wheel Drive Vehicle to access trailhead)

 

The Okolehao Trail-- Hanalei, moderately easy (to the small hill where the aloha bench used to be, much more difficult once you get to the ropes), 3.5miles roundtrip (to the small hill where the aloha bench used to be (you'll know it when you get there))

The Okolehao Trail is a north shore hike that begins in the Hanalei River Valley. Awesome views of Hanalei Bay are the reward for a mile and half uphill jaunt. Although the trail continues up the ridge-- well past the small hill where the "aloha bench" used to sit-- I always turn around after taking in the vista in the photo above. To go further requires climbing some ropes. Go for it if that's your thing. If you do, then the hike jumps into the difficult category. I've listed this hike as moderately easy, but it is a long uphill climb that can be hard on the knees. Especially the descent. And when it it wet, the first mile and the last mile can be very slippery. For photo ops, you can get sunset pics-- looking towards Hanalei Bay-- and sunrise pics looking east (see photos below).

 

 

There are all kinds of different plants along the trail, and my favorite section is this area where the trail is lined by cook pine trees.  For me this section is the highlight of the trail. So fresh! :-)

 

 

Other things to look for on the Okolehao Trail are the soft fluffy grasses, dragon fiies, wild orchids, and frogs! 

To get to the trail head go north to Hanalei and turn left immediately after crossing the one lane bridge over the Hanalei River. Continue straight on the one lane country road for about a mile until you see a small parking lot on the left. Park there and the trail begins across the road on the right. You'll see a sign that reads OKOLEHAO. Afterwards, head into Hanalei town for some refreshments or better yet take a dip at Hanalei Bay. The cool pacific waters will help heal the legs after all of the climbing you just did!

 

Sleeping Giant (Nounou)-- Wailua, 4-5 miles roundtrip, moderately easy

 

Pretty much guaranteed views of sunrise over Wailua and Kapa'a await you along the Sleeping Giant Trail. You can begin the trail from three different locations, but I always start from the trailhead off of Haleilio Rd. This is another easy hike, probably easier than the Okolehao Trail. And like the Okolehao Trail you can continue your adventure if you are willing to climb a little into (potentially) harm's way. There is an official "end of trail" sign but you can easily hike beyond that and climb up onto the Sleeping Giant's face, head and nose. I like to hike this trail in the morning before Kapa'a and Wailua wake up. This trail is so close to the city that you will hear the traffic below you during the day, but it's still pretty cool to be up on a mountain that you see all the time as you drive through the east side of the island. Once on top you can look into the interior and see Kawaikini and Waiale'ale to the west; Kalalea and Kapa'a to the north; Wailua to the east; and Lihue to the south. A good first day hike for anyone staying on the east side because it lets you stretch your legs and gives you a good idea of the lay of the land.

 

 

 

 

The official trail ends at a picnic area on top. The trail is straightforward from top to bottom and there is only one area that is tricky. You'll notice it in the first 15 minutes of the hike (coming from the Haleilio Rd parking area). Along the way you'll find a bench where you may rest and gaze up to where you are heading. 

 

Part two will pick up with another easy hike, The Heritage Trail to Mahaulepu.

Till then, happy hiking. And if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section. Mahalo!

Aloha and respect,

Lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai hawaii hiking kauai kauai photography landscape nature north shore photography by lee scott https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/7/7-kauai-hikes-not-named-the-kalalau-trail-part-1 Fri, 10 Jul 2015 01:09:19 GMT
Sunset Hike along the Nualolo Trail to the Napali Coast https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/7/sunset-hike-to-the-napali-coast the nualolo, f/6.3, 1/60sec, iso 100, 24mm ts-e, 5d3

I have thought about hiking The Nualolo Trail at sunset for a while now and finally decided to do it. I've written about The Nualolo Trail before so I won't go into a lot of detail about the hike itself here, but rather about the the experience of hiking in for sunset and then hiking out in the dark. And like always I'll also include a few pics. :-)

I'd been researching on TPE for a couple of months, trying to find a time when the sun may shine into the Nualolo Valley. I felt that anytime around the summer solstice to July 10th or so would give a good opportunity, but I really couldn't tell for sure. I looked at maps and satellite images on TPE and tried to decipher if the sun would make through the pali, but I just wasn't sure. To be totally honest I kinda doubted that the sun would ever set far enough north to shine into the various valleys of the Napali Coast from the angle of the Lolo Vista. But hey, we are photographers and explorers. Adventures. Kings and Queens of "You never know" what you'll see. You never know what you will feel. Some would say, "That's why you take the camera." I say, "That's why you go (you always take the camera!)."

don't look down, f/7.1, 1/40sec, iso 100, 24mm ts-e, 5d3

So with mind made up I met up with a  friend and decided to give it a go. We planned our hike with the full moon. That way we would have a little light in the sky to help us find our back if either one of our headlamps failed. I also thought I may take a picture of the full moon on the way back, which proved to be a silly idea (I was way too tired to take any pics on the back!). We did see a small moonbow on the hike back, but we just took it in with our eyes and let it please the soul. Just experience it. Sometimes theres on need to keep it.

slippery slope to blue, f/9, 1/40sec, iso 100, 24mm ts-e, 5d3

We arrived at Koke'e state park around 2.30 pm and started on the hike about 15 to 3. I don't know how we did it, but we flew down the trail and arrived at the  Lolo Vista at around 4.30-- three hours before sunset. We planned to just chill in the shade of a tree, but once there we immediately began scouting and composing. We actually ended up going well beyond the "End of Trail" marker at the Lolo Vista as we thought it would give a better perspective, showing the length of coastline and, later, more direct low light of the Napali Coast (and perhaps even the cathedrals of Kalalau). 

 

no need to race, f/14, 1/15sec, iso 100, 24mm ts-e, 5d3

Initially, the cloud cover over the mountainous coastline was quite heavy. But as the evening progressed the clouds diminished and began to match the near cloudless horizon over our shoulders. Our hopes of golden light being reflected off strawberry blonde clouds slowly began to vanish above while shadows began creeping into the valleys below. Pretty much as I expected, the sunlight wasn't going to make into the Nualolo, but what about the other valleys further down the Napali Coast? We would just have to wait and see.

THIS IS NOT MY TRIPOD! DON'T DO THIS. IT SCARES ME!!! I DO NOT CONDONE THIS. PLEASE, DON'T TRY THIS!!! LEAVE THE KEYS WITH ME!

how close is too close?

The shadows were really beginning to creep into the canyon and valleys by this point in the evening, so I decided to switch lenses and scope down the Napali Coast as the sun began to lower and the air began to cool. I brought two lenses on the hike-- a 24mm TSE prime. It is a manual focus only lens and has tilt/shift capabilities. The other lens that I carried with me proved to be the most useful-- a 70-200mm zoom.  Any zoom is a heavy lens on any hike, but I definitely think it is worth the extra effort. It's got an extremely convenient range, image stabilization and actually when connected to a camera fits snugly and carries quite nicely in my pack. If you are on a long hike or an especially demanding one, I would recommend pairing with camera for the hike. I definitely find it easier to carry this way. Of course, I also carried a tripod, as well as a remote shutter release (which I used) and nd filters (which I did not). Extra shirt, towel, toilet paper, extra batteries (for camera and headlamp), extra memory cards, first aid kit, rain jacket, camera strap, head lamp and hiking poles. You may notice, missing from this list is WATER! Can you believe it!? I forgot my water. I left it in the cooler in my friend's truck. Luckily my friend-- he of the "Let's set up the tripod on a 2,000 foot crumbly dirt ledge!"-- had three liters of water with him so my life was saved! :-) Thank you Ken!

shadows fill in as the green coast extends, f/7.1, 1/50sec, iso 100, 70-200mm@85mm, 5d3

The Napali Coast at SunsetThe Na Pali Coast at Sunset Seen from the NualoloA four mile long sunset hike along the Nualolo Trail led me to this magnificent view of Kauai's famed Na Pali Coast. I hiked back in the light of the full moon and headlamp with my mind and body full of nature's mana or power.
Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawaii
the napali coast at sunset, f/16, .5sec, iso 100, 70-200@140mm, 5d3

Pretty much after I took the shot above, the entire coastline turned to shade. We figure that the angle of the extremely low sun just didn't allow it to penetrate through or around the pails of the Nualolo, Awaawapuhi, Honopu, Kalalau, et al. It was really surprising, but as adventures of the unknown you never know until you do. 

lehua and niihau from the lolo vista, f/6.3, 1/30sec, iso 100, 70-200mm@200mm, 5d3

Before walking out onto the Lolo vista we agreed that we would not wait on the ledge beyond golden hour. No matter how much we wanted to to shoot blue hour on the coast, we both felt that we needed to get off the "dangerous" portion of trail before complete darkness fell. There was one tricky section that we both felt more comfortable navigating with a little ambient light so with a final click we turned to go. The way out took a little longer than the way in. Our headlamps worked brilliantly and we got back to the truck, tired and thirsty (oops!) just before 10pm. It was a good hike. Seven Hours and seven minutes from start to finish. It was a good experience, and I'm glad I did it. Mahalo mama Kauai!

sunset from the nualolo, f/16, 1/15sec, iso 100, 70-200@200mm, 5d3

Aloha, 

Lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai Nualo Trail Nualolo Canyon Nualolo Valley The Nualolo Trail hawaii hiking kalalau kalalau trail kauai kauai photography landscape nature photography by lee scott seascape sunset the Napali Coast https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/7/sunset-hike-to-the-napali-coast Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:37:43 GMT
Four Minute Sunset https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/4/four-minute-sunset Four Minute Sunset, Tunnels, Kauai, Hawaii. 16mm. f16, 240 seconds, iso 100. LEE Big Stopper ND Filter, Lee Polarizer Filter.  

 

I've been thinking a lot about composition recently. I was out shooting a couple of weeks ago and the light and subject were good, but as I  reviewed the shots, I kept thinking that I should have done better. You ever have that feeling? Like everything was good, except you? I felt like going back to the scene and saying to the ocean, mountains, sky and sun, "It's not you. It's me. Really. You're perfect. I just need a little time." So what to do? Gotta up my game, I guess. So here I am, thinking about composition.

As you may know, I'm a self taught photographer. I've never taken a class on photography. I've never attended a photography workshop. The only art class that i  have ever taken was a Modern Art class sophomore year at Ole Miss. Colors, spacial patterns and relationships have just been kinda intuitive for me. And I always feel that any "photography rule" can be broken at any time. But still sometimes when I review a session I feel that, for whatever reason, I missed it. Compositionally, I just wasn't able to communicate the experience in a pleasing manner. So here I am thinking about composition.

These thoughts led me to the ever dangerous and sometimes helpful internet. I pulled up Outdoor Photographer and found a landscape photographer by the name of Ian Plant who has written a well received book on composition called Visual Flow

Well there you go, I thought. Time to get busy and do a little study. So I downloaded the creative bundle and soon began reading a really good ebook on compositional techniques and explanation. 

I finished the book a few days ago and recommend it to anyone interested in concepts and principals of composition. What I appreciated most was the inspiration and teachings that Mr. Plant drew from various works of Art-- Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Hokusai, Turner, etc... I also enjoyed seeing the many different places where he and co-creater Geroge Stocking have photographed. Yes, it's a good book. Helpful, too, I think.

So with my head full of concepts and terminology to support what I have always left to intuition I went out to Tunnels, looking for a few things:

One, I wanted to photograph sunset.

Two, I wanted to include the curve of Makana Ridge

Three, I wanted to somehow relate the uniqueness of my visit (that particular moment) to the photograph.

Four, I wanted to find something in the foreground to mirror the shape or abstractly refer to the contours of makana ridge.

Five, I wanted to apply "atmospheric perspective" (i read it in the book!)-- basically I wanted to come away with at least one photograph where I placed the focus on the nearer object and let the sun or makana mountain appear "less distinct." (I often place focus on distant objects as I wish to lead the viewer to that point of the scene. So I was gonna try some new things!).

As I was walking the beach thinking of these things I kinda felt like Bob Dylan. You know Maggies Farm? "I got a head full of ideas that are driving me insane."

 

 

Vortex, Tunnels, Kauai, Hawaii. 16mm, f/11, 30 seconds, iso 100, LEE Big Stop Filter, LEE Polarizer Filter.

 

I scouted out the location like I always do, this time I was specifically looking for contours, leading lines and or triangles (triangles!? you may ask. read the book!). Low tide was to pretty much coincide with sunset so I knew that I would be able to use some portion of the exposed reef in the composition. That's what  I initially planned and I thought I had all the elements here (in the photo above)-- diagonal lines for energy, repetition of triangular shapes for stability and perhaps a nice "counterpoint" to makana in the triangular shaped reef/rock in the foreground. So after this shot I was just going to wait for the sun to lower and the light to turn golden. 

I was feeling pretty good about myself. Yes, sir, I studied a book, applied the principles and got a good picture. Well done, Lee. But then, as I was waiting, I began to look around. Oh, the world is a big place indeed. I always tell people that a photograph doesn't just sit around and wait, they observe. They put their time waiting to good use. And what i discovered was a second portion of reef that was before mostly submerged was beginning to show dry. 

 

Beginning to Show Dry, Tunnels, Kauai, Hawaii. 16mm, f/6.3, 1/125 second, iso 100, LEE Polarizer Filter.

 

At this point I decided to leave the tripod where it stood and took the camera off for a little hand held exploring. And I just fell in love with this portion of reef. I photographed it from all kinds of different angles with makana in the background and came up the shot that opened this blog-- Four Minute Sunset. Here it is again,

 

 

The compositional elements that I was looking for are all there-- foreground interest, counterpoint, and directional cue are all in the seaweed covered reef; makana's angularity and pleasant curves are well represented; and a sense of the unique moment are revealed in the exposed reef (an occurrence that only happens during extreme low tides). I chose a long exposure shot with an ND filter to smooth out the ocean, pull light lines out and to add a little depth and energy to a somewhat empty sky. Also, I just like long exposures. :-)

Once the sun set below the thick line of clouds I changed lenses and abandoned atmospheric perspective and focused directly on the sun as it balanced itself on the blue horizon (image below).

 

 

Setting Spring Sun, Tunnels, Kauai, Hawaii, 24mm, f/13, 1/25 second, iso 100, B+W Circular Polarizer Filter.

 

Even though this shot is a lot tighter and the exposure time is much shorter, compositionally it is very similar to Four Minute Sunset. I kept the foreground element and counterpoint to Makana (green reef); the bumps along the green reef mirror the bumps and points of Makana, adding (I think) symmetry to the scene. Overall this one is nice, but I am most proud of the first one.

I think the curves of Makana and the glassy ocean from the long exposure soften the scene and symbolize Kauai's nurturing energy and mellow vibes. At least for me. 

I'll try to write more about compositions as my study continues. 

I hope you enjoyed the blog and the pics. 

Aloha, 

Lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai Visual Flow Visual Flow by Ian Plant beach composition compositional techniques in photography hawaii kauai kauai photography landscape long exposure nature nature photography north shore photography by lee scott seascape sky sunset zen https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/4/four-minute-sunset Mon, 06 Apr 2015 00:14:57 GMT
The Kohua Ridge Trail and Cloud Atlas https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/3/the-kohua-ridge-trail-and-cloud-atlas  

Cloud Atlas, Kohua Ridge Trail, Waimea Canyon, Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawaii

 

I hiked the Kohua Ridge Trail (Tuesday) and finished reading Cloud Atlas (Monday) so this blog will be a mixture of the two. Probably not any near as eloquent as David Mitchell, but bear with me. 

The above photo, which I took from the end of the Kohua Trail, will serve as a visual guide to the most beautiful ideas that I found in Mitchell's masterpiece on time and transmigration.

Cloud Atlas may be the most inventive book I have ever read. True, it is not an easy read, but it is enjoyable and incredibly rewarding. I want to quote from the section set on the Big Island many years in the future, which in Cloud Atlas terminology, is many winters "after the fall." Zachary, a helper in the book, lies exhausted in the bottom of a canoe looking up at the Hawaiian sky

​I watched clouds wobbly from the floor o' that kayak. Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies, an' tho' a cloud's shape nor hue nor size don't stay the same, it's still a cloud an' so is a soul. Who can say where the cloud's blowed from or who the soul'll be 'morrow? 

Once I saw the clouds at the end of the trail, I knew I wanted to show them, crossing the skies; changing shapes; and generally being blown about like souls in lives. 

Cloud Atlas is a beautiful book and highly recommended.

 

 

seen on a morning drive, waimea, kauai, hawaii

 

The Kohua Trail begins about two miles into the Na Pali-Kona Forrest Reserve off the 4x4 only Mohihi Camp Road (about 7 miles from the tarmac and Koke'e Lodge). The trail is relatively short-- 5 miles roundtrip-- but extremely varied. You'll walk through rich Koa and Lehua forests, smaller sections of Cedar and the occasional African Tulip. 

 

lehua trees along mohihi camp road about halfway to the kohua ridge trailhead, koke'e state park, kauai, hawai

 

The trail crosses a stream early on, and then climbs and descends through softly padded sections of earth covered with Koa leaves, wild flowers and a variety of moss. 

 

A typical Kohua Ridge trail scene, Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawaii

 

 

Koa tree leaves flank the trail, and in some places are so heavy that you must push them back with both arms as you progress along the seldom hiked trail, Kohua Ridge Trail, Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawaii

 

After about two miles or so, the trail begins to open up and you realize that you are walking on a ridge that is right in the middle of the majestic, red and green Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

 

Clouds and Canyon-- the view from the Kohua Trail Vista (don't know if you can see him or not, but the tiny black speck on the lower left is a wild goat that was just rambling along the lower (dangerous) ridge), Kauai, Hawaii 

 

We hung out here for nearly and hour, just watching the clouds cross the sky like souls traveling through time. All total we were out on the trail for 5 hours and didn't meet another hiker the entire time. During the way back, Naomi told me a story about one of her friend's boys who said to nature once, "Thanks for having us." Indeed, thanks for having us. 

 

Lines on Bark, Kohua Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

 

 

Fingers Crossed, "Angel" moss on lehua tree along the Kohua Trail, Kauai, Hawaii 

 

 

PS

Usually when we hike in Koke'e we plan on camping for the night. Recently we've been pitching our tent and stringing our hammock at the Kawaikoi Stream campsite. This site, and the nearby Sugi Grove campsite, both require a vehicle with four wheel drive (and preferably a little lift, too). But the campsite near the Koke'e Lodge has many tent only sites that offer privacy, tables, and water. We've spent many a pleasant night there, as well. Either way, if you do decide to camp, please purchase your permit through the Hawaii State Camping Reservation System at https://camping.ehawaii.gov/camping. It's fast, easy and the nominal permit fee helps to maintain the upkeep of our state parks. Mahalo for your kokua!

Aloha, 

Lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Kohua Ridge Trail Kohua Trail Vista Koke'e State Park Waimea Canyon Waimea Canyon hikes hawaii hiking hiking Hawaii hiking Kauai hiking in Koke'e State Park kauai kauai photography nature outdoors photography by lee scott sky trekking https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/3/the-kohua-ridge-trail-and-cloud-atlas Sat, 28 Mar 2015 22:21:17 GMT
jungle hike to hanakapi'ai falls https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/1/jungle-hike-to-hanakapiai-falls Hanakapi'ai FallsDeptha look into hanakapi'ai valley and hanakapi'ai falls
Hanakapi'ai Falls Trail, Hanakapi'ai Valley, Kauai

hanakapi'ai falls, kauai, hawaii

 

A couple of weeks ago Naomi and I hiked to hanakapi'ai falls. The trail is probably the most hiked trail on kauai and all of the guide books talk about it so I want do too much here other than post a few pics of what we saw during our 8 mile jungle excursion.

 

Zen StonesZen StonesA stack of stones, known as a cairn, at Hanakapi'ai Beach mark two miles on the Kalalau Trail.
Hanakapi'ai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

zen stones, hanakapi'ai beach, kauai, hawaii

 

Two miles in and you are at hanakapi'ai beach. The name is a little misleading because in the winter time it ain't much of a beach. More like a stone patch in front of swirling ocean.

 

 

leaning towers of the napali coast, hanakapi'ai beach, kauai, hawaii

 

Needless to say, in the winter time you should not swim here. And if you ask me, summer time, too. Be careful crossing the stream, too. The water was a little high the day of our hike and it took us a while to find the best place to cross. But safely across, we stopped at the stone patch took some pics; ate some nuts; and enjoyed the quiet morning, knowing that within a few hours the place would be full of people. If you want a quiet hike, you gotta start early.

 

 

jungle trail to hanakapi'ai falls, kauai, hawaii 

 

The trail is always muddy in winter. Just expect it. Near daily winter rains in the valley don't give the trail much time to dry out. So unless you hike in the summer (and even then areas of mud are likely) just know that you will get muddy. Nothing you can do about it. Just watch your footing as much as you can. Naomi and I like hiking sticks or trekking poles. They really help out, especially coming down slick rocks with muddy shoes. 

 

 

the womb, hanakapi'ai falls, kauai, hawaii

 

This is the end of the trail-- hanakapi'ai falls. Total feminine energy back here. It's like walking into Mother Earth or Mama Kauai. Fecund nature. The spirit of birth and renewal. Fresh and cool. It's a total trip to experience. I recommend it. From here your turn back and hike 4 miles to ke'e.

 

 

one more look, hanakapi'ai falls, kauai, hawaii 

 

 

jungle light, jungle stream, hanakapi'ai valley, kauai, hawaii

 

 

favorite view, kalalau trail, kauai, hawaii

 

Aloha,

lee

 

​All photos in this blog are available to purchase at light source photo gallery in kapa'a or online. Email lee at lee@hikarils.com for sizes and further information. Mahalo.

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beach hanakapiai falls hanakapi'ai falls hanakapiai falls trail hanakapiai valley hanakapi'ai valley Hawaii hiking hiking kauai hiking to hanakapi'ai falls kalalau trail kauai kauai photography nature north shore photography by lee scott https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/1/jungle-hike-to-hanakapiai-falls Wed, 21 Jan 2015 03:21:44 GMT
choose love https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/1/choose-love  

 

 

a little wild and uncontrolled (fantasy), kauai, hawaii

 

I am reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan now and am moved by it's story of love, war, horror, endurance and humanity.  The juxtaposition of the narratives of a group of Australian POWs forced by the Japanese to build a ludicrous railroad line through the deep jungles of Thailand and Burma (Myanmar) and a love story compel the reader to see the utter stupidity and barbaric nature of war. While reading about the atrocities and horrific conditions of the POWs I am begging to be brought back to love. I am literally longing to turn the page on the wartime narrative to be embraced by the excitement and joy of being with one who loves. 

 

 

mimicry, kauai, hawaii 

 

I'm almost done with the book and recommend it to anyone interested in history, the War of the Pacific (the Pacific theater of WWII), Japanese history,  Australian history, and just great literature. The novel won the Man Booker Prize for 2014 and appeared on numerous 2014 best of year end lists. 

 

 

driftwood under moving sky, kauai, hawaii

 

All of the photos in this blog come from two days at an east side beach. The opening pic, a little wild and uncontrolled,is my favorite of the group. I let the exposure run a bit, and while it is actually overexposed, i like how it adds a sense of fantasy to the scene. 

 

This next shot below was taken on day two. I wanted to go back and revisit the half buried driftwood and see how "proper" exposure would affect the mood. Of course, each day is different and day two brought a near cloudless and radiant sky. 

 

radiant sky, kauai, hawaii

 

 

following the line, kauai, hawaii

 

 

changing light, changing life, kauai, hawaii 

 

 

the surreal is the real, kauai, hawaii

 

 

choose love, kauai, hawaii

 

aloha, 

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan beach east side Kauai hawaii kauai kauai photography landscape light source photography by lee scott literature long exposure nature photography by lee scott seascape sky zen https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/1/choose-love Thu, 15 Jan 2015 04:58:12 GMT
repetition, appreciation, and learning to listen https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/1/repetition-deepens-appreciation  

old time kauai, tunnels beach, kauai, hawaii

 

Last week i spent three consecutive mornings at tunnels shooting long exposures with a 10 stop neutral density filter. Sometimes i find that repetition helps me better appreciate the changing light and the variable nature of a scene. Weather fronts and tides, wind and clouds will all play with the mood and conditions. It's all a reminder that I am only there to record and to communicate the energy and life force rather than force my energy, envy and desire onto mother nature. 

 

old time kauai (3:1 ratio), tunnels beach, kauai, hawaii

 

I am currently reading God Is Red by Vine Deloria. In this classic text on Native American spirituality Deloria presents Native American religions as a spirituality grounded in space (place) rather than time (history). It is an interesting and well supported view, and one that i find compelling. As a landscape photographer, i am constantly seeking the spiritual and transcendent in a moment that begins in a place (space).

I also found, hidden in one of the chapters of the book, a great quote by the French existentialist writer Albert Camus. In The Rebel, an essay by Camus on the individual and society, he writes "When nature ceases to be an object of contemplation and admiration, it can be nothing more than material for an action that aims at transforming it."

 

the little rainbow that could, tunnels beach, kauai, hawaii

 

This I believe is a key lesson. Because when we stop trying to transform our surroundings we can begin to transform ourselves. So let us contemplate nature. Let us admire her. Let us go deep within her and learn from her teachings. Repeatedly.

 

the dawn of movement, tunnels beach, kauai, hawaii 

 

the dawn of movement (1:1 ratio), tunnels beach, kauai, hawaii

 

I also found the following quote in Deloria's delightful book. This one is by Walking Buffalo, a Stoney Indian from Canada who provides insight on our unwillingness to listen:

"Did you know that trees talk? Well they do. They talk to each other, and they'll talk to you if you listen. Trouble is, white people don't listen. They never learned to listen to the Indians, so I don't suppose they'll listen to other voices in nature. But I have learned a lot from trees; sometimes about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit."

Let us listen to the trees. Let us learn about the Great Spirit. Let us be taught.

 

migration, tunnels beach, kauai, hawaii

 

Each day is different. Each day is new. Each tree will talk to us if only we would listen. 

Listen to the waves. Listen to the wind.

Going into nature helps us listen. Nature will tell us of the Great Spirit, and in learning about the Spirit we will learn peace.

Repeatedly.

 

doves of peace, tunnels beach, kauai, hawaii 

 

all photos in this blog are available to purchase at light source photo gallery in kapa'a, kauai or by email at lee@hikarils.com.

 

mahalo.

 

aloha,

lee

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) God is Red God is Red by Vine Deloria Haena Beach Park Hawaii Kauai Native American Spirituality Tunnels Tunnels Beach beach books hawaii kauai kauai photography landscape nature north shore photography by lee scott seascape sky https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2015/1/repetition-deepens-appreciation Sun, 04 Jan 2015 02:38:33 GMT
practice https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/12/practice  

morning routine, pinnacles, poipu, kauai, hawaii

 

"And we talking about practice." ~ Allen Iverson

I really enjoy sports and my favorites are college football (Ole Miss) and NBA basketball (Lakers). So anytime I think about practice, or  just the word practice I gotta give props to AI because his practice rant is so classic.  In the sports world practice is the thing you do when you aren't playing the game. Even though you are playing and running your body through game simulations and strategies, practice is the time when the results, technically, don't matter. That's reserved for the game when wins and losses are recorded and referenced. But the reality is the results of practice actually influence the game in terms of how well you are prepared to play. In this context AI's infamous practice rant-- while certainly entertaining-- represents a true misunderstanding. Shunryu Suzuki, author of my favorite book-- Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind-- would even encourage you to believe that it's all practice and that there is no game. I imagine he would say something like the game is little mind playing tricks.

 

overflow, pinnacles, poipu, kauai, hawaii

I've been thinking about practice recently because I am slowly getting back into my practice-- yoga and meditation. After opening my gallery my mat time dropped significantly. Or as one of my yoga friends likes to say, "I fell of the mat". But I'm slowly getting back on, re-establishing my practice and intentions. And my photography is benefitting. Of course it should. The practice brings peace and clarity and helps me see, which in turn helps me to communicate more precisely and thematically more consistently. 

 

blending in, poipu, kauai, hawaii

 

winter solstice rolls in, poipu, kauai, hawaii 

 

a splash at sunrise, along the heritage trail, poipu, kauai, hawaii

 

floating rainbows and bokeh, ironwoods pine, poipu, kauai, hawaii

 

 

thoughts, ironwoods pine, poipu, kauai, hawaii 

 

Oh, and yoga has definitely helped me on the hikes and squats and stretches to get that unique shot and perspective. Now, I just gotta keep the practice going. 

Aloha, 

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai Kauai photography Light Source Poipu bokeh buddhism photography by Lee Scott sunrise the Heritage Trail zen zen photography https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/12/practice Tue, 23 Dec 2014 21:37:19 GMT
the santa cruz trek, peru (revisited in bw) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/santa-cruz-trek-peru-revisited  

In the spring of 2014 Naomi and I travelled to Peru for three weeks. We walked around Lima and went to some cool cafes. We stayed in Cuzco and got sick in Cuzco (the altitude is for real!) and went to Machu Picchu. But for me, the highlight of the tip was our hike through the Cordillera Blanca on the 5 day Santa Cruz Trek. The Santa Cruz trek was just awesome. What follows are a few pics from our trek. Some of the photos you may have seen in the travel gallery on this website, but I think all are new (in black and white) here. 

 

The first two photos are from our "warm up" or acclimatization hike to Santa Cruz village, just outside of Huarez. Huarez, by the way, is a great little mountain town. Lots of cool cafes with good eats and delicious beer. Our favorite place was the Cafe California. We had pretty much everything on the menu (non-meat dishes) and it was all scrumptious! Coffee, too was excellent. You'll have to ask Naomi about the tea!

 

Near the beginning of the most amazing hike I have ever done-- Laguna 69 Trail. If you do one thing in Peru, do this! Awesome hike to one of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen-- Laguna (lake) 69. I want to go back just to see it again. Camp out there and photograph it all day long!

 

 

Enroute to Laguna 69. Climbing and climbing through the valley, higher and higher above the falls. This is one of my favorite shots from the entire trip. From this point, there's about 1 mile left before the beautiful blue lake 69.

 

Early morning, day three (I think). Brilliant clear skies. I forgot the mountain's name.

 

And in the other direction, this mountain, too.

 

Definitely different from Kauai!

 

The Punta Union Pass (elevation 4,750 meters), highest point of the Santa Cruz Trek. This was a long day. A long hard climb with rain chasing us the entire way. The views were, of course, breathtaking. We stopped here for a quick lunch before descending down into the valley. This was a very long, hard day. Longest of the trek, if I remember correctly, and definitely the hardest.

 

View of Alpamayo from the Punta Union Pass. Many in Peru will tell you that Alpamayo is the most beautiful mountain in the world. 

 

Day 4, 6:26 AM. Looking back at the mountain that guarded over the Punta Union Pass. 

 

The last bridge, and your out of the valley. 

Peru was awesome. I wanna go back.

Aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) adventure adventure photography Ancash andes andes mountains hiking Peru outdoor outdoor photography Peru photography by lee scott Santa Cruz Trek trekking Peru https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/santa-cruz-trek-peru-revisited Fri, 31 Oct 2014 22:45:58 GMT
north shore days https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/north-shore-days I've been hanging out on the north shore these past few weeks and i've got a miscellaneous mix of pics to share with you here. 

 

Coconuts at moloa'a bay. As you may know, Naomi and I live in moloa'a, and I often walk or jog to moloa'a bay. It's a fun place to hang out and an easy-to-get-to place for me to shoot. On this particular day, the coconuts grabbed my attention. They were rolling around on the beach like little footballs fumbled in the surf. Happy island scene.

The next couple of shots from moloa'a bay are from a morning with a sun that rose slowly with a hint of color, but not much illumination. I was hoping for a stronger sunrise to light up the jumping waves.

 

There was a warm and gentle glow on the horizon, but no waves to go with it! Ah, sometimes that's the way it goes. Alas....

 

File away for another day..... :-)

Next, is a shot from a morning spent walking hanalei bay. Sometimes, Naomi and I will stop and get coffee at Hanalei Coffee Roasters in hanalei town before heading out to shoot at the bay. Here's one form our coffee and chai morning at the bay.

 

Next up is a shot of aliomanu beach. While driving home, I noticed this blanket of clouds on the eastern sky. Unfortunately, it didn't reach to the north western horizon. Because of this I gave up on tunnels and ke'e and drove out to aliomanu beach, hoping that the blanket of clouds would catch the light from the distant sunset. Directionally, the conditions were a little off, and I only was able to see faint pink hues. Nothing epic, but it was good to get out and it is always good to try.

 

And finally a few from tuesdays short hike to hanakapi'ai. I had planned to hike to Space Out Rock, but the weather was poor, the trail was wet and rain was definitely coming so I turned back at hanakapi'ai beach. 

 

Rainbows appeared and disappeared the whole way out to hanakapi'ai.

 

Cairns and a faint rainbow at hanakapi'ai beach. There were a lot of cairns at the beach on this day. Here's a few more....

 

And a pic of the trail. Pretty typical conditions for the fall and winter. Wet, muddy and green, wet, muddy and green....

 

 

Two different plants growing together along the kalalau trail. I like this one. Healthy and happy.

Aloha, 

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai beach hawaii hiking kalalau kauai kauai photography landscape nature north shore photography by lee scott sky https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/north-shore-days Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:28:17 GMT
the authentic that surrounds you https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/the-authentic-that-surrounds-you  

"Only the real can know the real, the true can know the truth, the authentic can know the authentic that surrounds you." OSHO in talks on emotions

As a photographer, an artist and as a man living life this is to what I aspire. I hope my photography helps us to know the real; to know the truth; and to communicate the authentic that surrounds us all. I have had experiences in nature that were quite simply spiritual. These moments when the power and energy of the natural setting made me forget who I was or why I was there. These moments of clarity and insight into the real, the truth of experience. Tibetan buddhism calls these moments mahamudra or the great sign or the great seal. They can be likened to epiphanic moments where the divine from without speaks to the divine from within. And in these moments there is no separation, there is no within and no without. There is only being. Beautiful being.

 

this side of the shore, polihale, kauai 

Colors.

I should probably study up on Kandinsky's color theory before discussing such a lofty topic, but rather than discuss the emotive connections of various colors, I'll just say that colors and their divine shades are part of the authentic that surrounds us. We just have to be attune to the real and the truth to see it. 

 

lehua and halo, polihale, kauai

 

ajana chakra (the third eye), polihale, kauai

 

la and lehua, polihale, kauai

 

visions of the divine, polihale, kauai

I feel like I have a lot more to say about the topic, but I just can't get my head around it all. I do know that when I select photos for the gallery, I will keep the quote by OSHO in mind and ask myself if that criteria has been met: does this photo communicate the real, the truth and the authentic? Will this photo help me and others become more aware of the real, the truth and the authentic in the world that surrounds us? 

 

And at some point I'd like to use the same criteria for the viewer as well. In a world that has become so far removed from the Romantic ideal that "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" how can we know the real? When what is often presented as beauty is far from the truth, where is the authenticity? And where is the belief?

 

favorite t-shirt faded, polihale, kauai

Aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai OSHO Polihale State Park beach buddhism hawaii kauai kauai photography landscape nature photography by lee scott polihale sky sunset waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/the-authentic-that-surrounds-you Mon, 27 Oct 2014 21:07:13 GMT
wave watching at polihale https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/wave-watching-at-polihale  

Last tuesday i packed the camera and gear in the fj and drove out to polihale. I wanted to play around in the sand, shoot some waves, and then see what colors sunset would bring. First, i drove out to Queen's Pond, but i didn't see any tide pool so i gave up on that location. Next, i drove all the way out to the end and parked in a full lot at the pavilions. Wow, i was really surprised at all the people. This spot was a no-go as well, so i let some air and drove on the dunes, looking for a little stretch of beach without people, but with waves. 

 

25 psi is good to get to you going, but if you stop you ain't going again. Driving on the sand is all about keeping momentum and avoiding building piles in front of the tires. After stopping here and there-- momentum lost-- i stopped completely. Wheels where a spinning, so i let out more air. This time, i lowered the pressure to 20 psi, which did the trick, but 15 is probably better. I decided to set up just below the first camping area where i didn't think anyone would be in the frame.

The area i chose looked to have a strong rip current where receding white water would meet oncoming waves in a rush. It was important that i get the pali in the frame as well, as i wanted to hint at-- and in some instances tell-- the location.

 

I have some good wave shots from ke'e withe pali on the left side of the frame so I thought it would be cool if i could get some wave pics at polihale with the pali on the right. Kinda like bookend shots, together they show the beginning (and end) of the napali coast.

 

The waves at polihale have such power. The sand is very fine and thick, and the shells that you find there are often nothing more than faded pieces. 

 

Sailboats and catamarans ply this western coastline on snorkeling and sunset napali coast cruises. 

 

A frothy little shack at polihale hangs suspended in the late afternoon light.

 

The waves preform some kind of strange dance or celebration like popping the champagne to commemorate a special event.

 

 

A line of color falls and jumps at polihale. Now, to get ready for sunset.....

 

Aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii Kauai Polihale adventure beach kauai photography landscape nature ocean outdoor seascape waves west side kauai https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/wave-watching-at-polihale Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:44:17 GMT
emotions (and a few more from shipwrecks) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/emotions-and-a-few-more-from-shipwrecks  

taking in the view, shipwrecks, poipu, kauai

We went down to shipwrecks for some sunset shots last week, and although the sunset wasn't really happening I did get a few ideas on what i would like to shoot the next time i was down in poipu. Initially i wanted to shoot the rocky point at keoniloa bay, but the top was just too busy with hikers and sightseers taking in the view. 

 

Looking away from the point and straight out to the horizon, i noticed the soft and beautiful colors of the sand and sea. File away for another day.

 

And further down the beach as the surfers, body boarders, locals and tourists were all having a good time in the glow of sunset. The sand at shipwrecks has such a softness of texture and a color that is pleasing to the senses and soul.

 

same view as the shot above, only this one is the next day at dawn. Sometimes a location pulls at me and i feel a need to go back on consecutive days. It's like a calling that i can't explain, but one that i love to explore.

 

a few minutes later and the strong pinks have turned to cool blues. 

 

looking back the other way, towards the point at keoniloa bay. the surf rushes in like light rays.

 

One of my favorite teachers is OSHO. I am reading one of his "books" now. It's about emotions and in it he brings up a really good point by looking at the etymology and construction of the word. Emotion. E-motion. Motion. Movement. They are always changing. They are moving like the waves. And we just need to watch them come and go, form and break. Run and play. Motion.

 

south swell, shipwrecks, poipu, kauai

 

I want to thank all of you who gave feedback on my recent Facebook post about this shoot. Your comments were insightful and will help me choose a new image for the gallery. In reading your comments, I found that some liked the waves and sense of power and motion while others preferred the warm reflection and it's sense of compositional space and energy. I think this shot offers a nice compromise of the two. Any thoughts?

 

Mahalo and aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Kauai beach buddhism hawaii kauai kauai photography landscape nature photography by lee scott poipu seascape shipwrecks beach sky south shore kauai waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/emotions-and-a-few-more-from-shipwrecks Tue, 21 Oct 2014 00:22:40 GMT
salt ponds beach park-- 10 pics https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/salt-ponds-beach-park---10-pics  

When we arrived at Salt Ponds Beach Park in Hanapepe, the skies were threatening, and we had already driven in and out of rain on the way over. The tree tunnel road leading to Poipu was flooded, canceling my plans to shoot at that oft requested location. So it wasn't surprising when the heavens opened with a rumble and the rain began to pour. We waited out the storm in the FJ and finally made a dash for the pavilions once it looked like rainbows would appear. And sure enough, they did. As Naomi likes to say, 'No rain. No rainbows." True indeed.

 

While we waited for the heavy rains to pass, I noticed the waves and the rocks on the far right reef. The waves were pretty active and consistent and the rocks were covered with a beautiful green mossy seaweed. I thought that could make a nice pic as the evening progressed. And even better, no one was over there. Compared to the middle section-- the more famous area of step like waterfalls-- where  quite a few people were playing around in the water and on the rocks. And there was a karaoke party beginning to liven up at the nearby pavilion. I almost always prefer quiet to noise and certainly prefer to shoot where there are no people. So I changed into my tabis and ventured out to the waves and onto the rocks.

 

Slippery, but beautiful in the low sunlight. If you venture out to the rocks along Kauai's beaches, please be very careful of the waves and surf. I also recommend that you wear tabis-- felt soled neoprene booties. They help hold grip while walking on and over the slippery rocks and shelves that make up much of Kauai's coastline.

 

I like the playful curve and the action of the ocean in this shot. This one is definitely one of my favorites from the shoot.

 

The ocean has filled in and the movement appears to be on an even plane. Either this one, the one above, or the one to follow will be appearing in the gallery soon. Right now I am leaning more towards the first one, but we'll see....

 

And the ocean recedes. Fun stuff, yeah?

 

Looking back to Salt Ponds Beach Park, a west side locals hangout. Kinda like a west side Anini Beach Park? What do you think?

 

I'm a sucker for fluffy clouds. 'Mo bettah in the evening light!

 

More clouds!

 

Last click of the day.

Aloha, 

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hanapepe Salt Ponds Salt Ponds Beach Park beach hawaii kauai kauai photography photography by lee scott sky sunset waves west side https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/10/salt-ponds-beach-park---10-pics Fri, 03 Oct 2014 01:32:10 GMT
one circle (hoop dreams) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/one-circle  

I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.

~ from Black Elk's Great Vision as recounted in John G. Neihardt's classic, Black Elk Speaks

 

 

I have always said that the soccer fields and basketball court in Hanalei must have the prettiest backdrop of any playground in the world. I've had this idea of shooting the Milky Way and basketball hoop for a while now and finally got the chance with a new moon occurring in late September. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't looking too good for the first few nights, but I made a go of it last night and came up with a few fun shots. 

 

 

swish!

Have a great weekend!

Aloha, 

lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Black Elk Black Elk's Great Vision Hanalei Hawaii Kauai Sacred Hoop basketball hawaii kauai kauai photography milky north shore photography by lee scott sky starry sky stars way https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/one-circle Thu, 25 Sep 2014 23:41:32 GMT
liberation from time https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/liberation-from-time  

... Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and future are abstractions without any concrete reality. 

               ~ from Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

 

 

 

 

One wave of many colors and sections flowing with constant movement. Each wave different, yet each wave is the same.

Ocean.

Wind.

Light.

Dependent on the other. 

 

 

 

 

Emotions are the energies of our mental states. Like waves, they appear when conditions ripen, and flow through us until they break.

We are not the emotions, just as we are not the feelings they bring. 

Watch them pass like waves hitting the rocks, and be the calm seas.

The period in the swell. 

 

 

 

 

I enjoy seeing the colors of a location change. The light and shadows move as if they were playing a game. This is one of the most interesting facets of photography. For this reason, I often don't move around that much after I arrive at a location and begin shooting. Usually, I don't feel the need or desire to pick up the tripod and move up the beach 100 yards or back up the trail 50 feet. Sometimes I'll shift the perspective, but most of the time I am content just to view the scene from where I first chose. Maybe I feel that this helps me appreciate the changes in light and color more than if I were constantly adjusting my location throughout the shoot. Sometimes I find the variety of light is more interesting than variety of subject. Take the two vertical shots above. They are nearly identical, but the shadow created by the breaking wave in the second image makes it completely different (to me, at least) from the image that proceeds it. That little diagonal shift is just awesome! 

 

All photos in this blog were taken at Ke'e Beach on Kauai's north shore. The first couple were taken with a 70-200/2.8 and the last few with a 24-70/2.8.

As always, thanks for visiting. 

Mahalo and aloha!

lee

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Kauai beach buddhism hawaii kauai kauai photography north shore photography by lee scott sky sunset waves zen https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/liberation-from-time Thu, 25 Sep 2014 02:00:04 GMT
Poomau Canyon Lookout https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/poomau-canyon-lookout

A friend of mine sent me a text. It read, "... about .25 mile hike and then you are sitting on a rock in the middle of the canyon. It was quite magical." Forget that she didn't say where the .25 mile long trail began nor did she mention the size (or lack there of) said rock!

 

The search was on, and it coincided with our recent off road camping trip in The Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve. Day one was all about finding the trail, and after two false paths and a little more off roading we finally found it. Next came the hike, which  was really easy and really quick. You start at the Poomau Canyon Lookout Trailhead and sure enough, .25 miles away lies the "END" marker, and beyond that sits the rock. 

 

Now, between the END marker and the ROCK lies a narrow and eroded shrub-lined trail that may leave you more comfortable resting at the END marker. Being adventurous souls, we took our chances and carefully scurried down the trail to the safety (?) of the ROCK where we found the views to be quite magical.

Magical indeed.

But the mid day light was not. So successfully reconnoitered we called it an afternoon and went back to camp to relax in the hammock and plan the next morning's sunrise shoot.

 

Interlude

 

 

Up at 5am and in the FJ by 5.30. On the trail by 5.45 and sitting on the ROCK at 6, where we sat for 2 and half hours. It was a small rock and a hard rock.  And when Naomi dozed off and almost fell off the ROCK it scared the shit out of me! I still don't know how I managed the tripod and at what angle I sat at in order to peer through the viewfinder. All I know is that my back and butt hurt for two solid days after our sunrise vigil to the photography gods. 

 

 

 

After two days at the lookout, I'm still unsure as to when the best light would be. Sunrise was a little weak. But once the sun came up, the shadows were strong. Midday saw a lot of overexposed clouds (time for a graduated nd filter???) and sunset you would be shooting directly into the light, and once the sun went behind the western wall of the canyon, i'm sure a lot of shaded areas would be hard to bring up. Yes, I still find Waimea Canyon one of the most difficult places to shoot on Kauai. 

I loved this section of the trail. Giant cedars (Japanese Sugi) in the morning light.

 

And on the way back to Koke'e these other scraggly trees under radiant blue sky.

 

Mahalo mama Kauai!

Aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Area" Hawaii Kauai Koke'e Kona Na Pali- Park Poomau Canyon Lookout Poomau Canyon Lookout Trail State Waimea Waimea Canyon Wilderness adventure photography camping hawaii hikes hiking kauai kauai photography outdoor outdoor photography photography by lee scott https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/poomau-canyon-lookout Sun, 21 Sep 2014 23:17:36 GMT
stars and trees of kawaikoi (up in koke'e) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/stars-and-trees-of-kawaikoi-up-in-kokee

the dividing line is made in our mind (there is no divide, there is no line), Kawaikoi, Kauai, Hawaii.

 

Tuesday morning I packed camera and camping gear into the FJ, and Naomi and I headed up to Koke'e. Destination: Kawaikoi camp. Since we didn't plan to do any long hikes during our short stay above Waimea Canyon, we got a leisurely start and stopped in Poipu along the way for a coffee and scone. 

 

magical realism, Kawaikoi, Kauai, Hawaii

 

Once safely over the 4WD "road" we arrived at the campsite and began taking in Koke'e's refreshingly cool mountain air. Up next, pitch tent; string hammock; grab the frisbee; and open a beer. 

Time to enjoy the good life. The happy life. 

Life is a blessing.

Gratitude.

 

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above and below, Kawaikoi, Kauai, Hawaii

 

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windblown (stars and tree), Kawaikoi, Kauai, Hawaii

 

I fell in love with the trees around our campsite. And the trees in the photos above were my favorites. Can't wait to get back up there. 

Aloha,

lee

 

 

 

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Hawaii" Koke'e State Park Waimea Canyon adventure adventure photography camping camping on Kauai hawaii in kauai kauai photography landscape nature night sky outdoor photography photography by lee scott sky stars the Milky Way trees https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/stars-and-trees-of-kawaikoi-up-in-kokee Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:53:12 GMT
feathers in the sky-- sunset at tunnels https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/feathers-in-the-sky---sunset-at-tunnels

Tunnels Beach with it's view of Makana is one of those special places on Kauai where energies and colors mix together like few places in the world. 

 

going for a walk at tunnelsGoing for a Walk at Tunnelstunnels, kauai

In this picture, I wanted the viewer to feel as if they were walking on the beach at sunset with the surf playfully running up their legs. In composing this shot, I have the tripod just barely in the surf and am clicking the shutter release as the little waves break onto shore. In order to slow down the movement of the wave I chose a slower shutter speed (0.4 sec) and an aperture of f/20 (due to the large quantity of diagonal light) all at an iso of 100.

 

Just a few more weeks before the sun begins to set behind Haena point. Many people who visit the gallery will ask about the seasons, and specifically if we have seasons. Well, we do, but they are subtle. In the summer, the north shore has the sunsets. In the winter the waves. And of course the fall and winter have near nightly showers and the late winter and early spring can see heavy rains. 

 

feathers in the sky, tunnels, kauai, hawaii

 

signed with a flourish!, tunnels, kauai, hawaii

Aloha, 

lee

 

if you are interested in purchasing any of the photos in this post, please email or give me a call. mahalo!

 

all photos in today's post were taken with a canon 5d3 with battery grip and a canon 24-70 f/2.8 ii lens. other gear used during this shoot: manfrotto tripod with arca swiss ball head, kirk l bracket, b+w polarizer, costco beach chair.

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beach hawaii kauai kauai photography makana north shore photography by lee scott sky sunset tunnels https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/feathers-in-the-sky---sunset-at-tunnels Thu, 11 Sep 2014 07:38:54 GMT
hanalei in the morning, hanalei in the evening https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/hanalei-in-the-morning-hanalei-in-the-evening

Hanalei is a beautiful town. It's a fairy tale-- lush mountains with waterfalls cascading; blue sea with waves rolling; good coffee; inspiring yoga; delicious foods; it just has an all around good time vibe. And a great way to view Hanalei is from the Okolehao Trail in the Hanalei River Valley Wildlife Refuge, which is just over the one lane bridge and beyond the taro fields. 

Cook Pines and fluffy grass stand tall at the first clearing along the Okolehao Trail, Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii

 

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Peeking through the pines. Hanalei Bay and Makana Ridge lies farther in the distance. Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii

 

The view from the Okolehao Trail just gets better and better. The "snout" like protrusion at the north end of Hanalei Bay is said to be the head of Puff the Magic Dragon made famous in Peter, Paul and Mary's song of the same name. The trail actually continues on up the ridge from here, but becomes exceedingly difficult as the pitch increases and the ridge steepens. Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii

 

I like the this fluffy grass. It grows in patches all along the trail. Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii

 

Cook Pines in morning light. This is probably my favorite section of trail. The cook pines are so fresh and green! Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii

 

Interlude.

If you are in Hanalei in the evening then you must spend a little time at Hanalei Bay. And Hanalei Bay on a summer evening means watching sunset at the Hanalei Pier. This is a tradition for locals and visitors alike. In general, the locals park right of the pier and tailgate on the beach. Visitors park in the lot and take their chairs and coolers and set up left of the pier. Either way, it's all good. As a photographer, the scene can be quite challenging. There's a lot of people enjoying the day, one another's company and, of course, Kauai's beauty. But all that means is you just have to be a little creative with your perspective and camera angles. 

 

The world is a big and wonderful place. Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

 

​Together. Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

 

 

Aloha Po (Hana Ho!). Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

 

Aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Bay Hanalei Kauai Okolehao Town Trail adventure beach hanalei hawaii hiking kauai kauai photography north shore photography by lee scott sky sunset https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/hanalei-in-the-morning-hanalei-in-the-evening Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:21:28 GMT
kalalau clouds https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/kalalau-clouds kalalau clouds, kalalau lookout, koke'e state park, kauai, hawaii

One of my most favorite places on kauai: the kalalau lookout in koke'e state park is a transcendent place. To experience it is not for the senses alone, but for the soul. The clouds move in and out, freely from east and west, from above and below. It's a vortex of (spiritual) phenomenal energy. And as beautiful as it is to see, it's the sound of the place that stirs me.

The lookout is known for it's fickle sky of clouds, often completely obstructing what is otherwise a glorious view. So if when you go, you can't see anything other than a cloud bank, wait a while. It may open up (and you can always listen to the sounds while you wait). Sometimes, though, it never clears. I've waited an hour before turning my back and driving home, sightless of the view. Other days, like the one pictured above, the clouds lift and fall, rapidly revealing and concealing-- an interplay of truth and change and flow. We can't will it, we can't force it, we can't make it do what we want it to do. It's nature. It's natural. It just is. Kalalau and clouds. Beautiful they way they are.

 

a hidden view, waimea canyon state park, kauai, hawaii

 

After descending the mountain a ways we turned down a semi-secret road that was well paved, but narrow and with no center line. From the area and the trails that i knew were around the road i figured we were heading towards a naval observation post. And sure enough we were soon u-turning before a fenced gate that read NO ENTRY US NAVY. 

 

patterns, waimea canyon state park, kauai, hawaii

 

Back on the main road, we climb down towards waimea town as the sun begins it fall behind a massive cloud floating above ni'ihau. Ever the romantics, we decide to park the car and enjoy the view-- canyon side . 

canyon clouds, waimea canyon state park, kauai, hawaii

*all photos in today's blog were taken with a canon 5d3 and a canon 24-70, f/2.8 ii lens, and B+W circular polarizer

 

have great day.

aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) buddhism canyon clouds hawaii kalalau kauai kauai photography lookout park photography by lee scott sky state valley waimea https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/kalalau-clouds Fri, 05 Sep 2014 04:46:41 GMT
September SALE-- 15% OFF all 12x18" limited edition metal prints! https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/september-sale---15-off-all-12x18-limited-edition-metal-prints

Remember the COUPON CODE is: KUKUI (which as you know is a hawaiian light source!)

Have a good one.

aloha,

lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beach buddhism hawaii kauai kauai photography north shore photography by lee scott sale sky sunset https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/9/september-sale---15-off-all-12x18-limited-edition-metal-prints Mon, 01 Sep 2014 19:27:54 GMT
the feeling of man more than mana https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/poipu-beach-park

I don't get down to poipu that often, and really-- other than mahaulepu and shipwrecks-- i don't have many pictures of poipu's beaches and other sites. I guess I'm more of a north shore guy, but i'm starting to open up to the sunny south shore (they call it the sunny south shore, but most of the time i go it's cloudy!). 

Sometimes you can find honu and monk seals resting along the sand at poipu beach park. I found this honu there in the early morning, and was able to watch him/her (?) walk away. They actually move surprisingly fast!

 

If you've ever wondered what honu tracks look like, well this is it. Pretty cool, eh?

 

Looking back at the sun as she rises behind the clouds and palm trees lining poipu beach park.

I think my main "problem" with the south shore is that there are so many people! I never feel that I have the beaches to myself. It's not so much the amount of people, but more the amount of infrastructure and buildings made for and by people. The north shore feels a little different. Maybe it's the greenery and mountains, the lush landscape and hidden beaches. There I can quite easily feel the mana of nature without the imprint of man. 

Morning clouds move through the sky, bringing short shower to the sunny south shore.

 

No rain, no rainbows. Waves were up at poipu on this day and generally this is where you can find summer time surf on kauai.

4D8A6825-Egbert Family Reunion-Bally's Las Vegas Casino-STEVEN JOSEPH PHOTOGRAPHY4D8A6825-Egbert Family Reunion-Bally's Las Vegas Casino-STEVEN JOSEPH PHOTOGRAPHYEgbert Family Reunion - On-Location Studio Family Portraits at Bally's Las Vegas Casino - (curl)
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Time for pancakes at Living Foods Market in Kukui Ula (my favorite place to eat in Poipu).

 A hui hou Poipu! I'll see you again soon.

aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beach hawaii honu kauai kauai photography photography by lee scott poipu poipu beach park sea turtle sky south shore https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/poipu-beach-park Sat, 30 Aug 2014 09:04:26 GMT
one morning at secrets (part three) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/one-morning-at-secrets-part-three The sun is up. The waves are pumping. And by now i am getting tired and hungry. But before i decide to go, i continue on down to an area we call third beach and found a tidal pool that formed in the unseasonal high surf. Here i took a few shots of the iconic 101 year old kilauea lighthouse.

morning mirage (bw), secrets, kauai, hawaii

 

morning miragemorning miragethe influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

morning mirage, secrets, kauai, hawaii

 

Feeling tired, hot (i drank 1 liter of water during the shoot) and hungry, i'm ready to call it a morning. But before i do i want to get a few shots of the waves hitting the rocks. First with the 70-200 and later with the 16-35 just for fun (i'm a sucker for a big blue sky).

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

the good life, secrets, kauai, hawaii

i love the colors in this photo! the gold-yellow of the sand, all the various shades of blue and the black rocks just to give a sense of the scene. chee hop! i just love it!

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

and here it is, secrets, kauai, hawaii

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

little circles bursting in the air, secrets, kauai, hawaii

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

circles on the sand, secrets, kauai, hawaii

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

spilled milk, secrets, kauai, hawaii

 

A great day at secrets comes to an end.

Mahalo mama kauai! You are so giving and so special. Gratitude!

Have a great weekend.

Aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beach hawaii kauai kauai photography kilauea kilauea lighthouse north shore photography by lee scott reflection sky waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/one-morning-at-secrets-part-three Sat, 16 Aug 2014 18:45:41 GMT
one morning at secrets (part two) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/one-morning-at-secrets-part-two Part two is all about the waves-- the great metaphor for change, energy, and flow. 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

change in volume change in color, secrets, kauai, hawaii

People ask all the time, "How did you get that color?" My reply is almost always, "It's all about the light." Well, in wave (or surf photography) it's all about the light and the volume and depth of the water. The photo above is a perfect example of this. The deeper water in the background is a deep blue. However, the wave is sea-green. This change is always happening and you can even see it  within individual waves. I recommend a circular polarizer to help pick up this difference in color. Also, we can't forget the light so if you have the time wait around for the good light. Direct sunlight on the wave will make the unique colors stand out even more.

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

rainbow spray, secrets, kauai, hawaii

Often with the right light and the right direction of light (behind you) you can get a rainbow spray coming off the back/top of the wave (the rip curl). This shot has a little rainbow forming, but not much of one. I have other shots where the rainbow is longer and more pronounced, but this shot gives you an idea of something to look for the next time you photographing large waves. Again, a polarizer will help here as well.

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

frothy break, secrets, kauai, hawaii

I've now left the tripod behind, well up on the beach, and have gone knee deep into the surf. This can be dangerous for both the photographer and the equipment! If you choose this method-- please be careful! Also, camera insurance-- enough to adequately cover the replacement cost of your gear-- is highly recommended.

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

secrets shining, secrets, kauai, hawaii

When i get in the surf and shoot i always set the camera to aperture priority. There is just too much going on to think about camera settings. Also, with waves this big you can't be looking at the LCD between shots to see how things are going. If you are in the surf you need to be vigilant and looking out for what's coming next. 

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

change is beautiful, secrets, kauai, hawaii

I think this one is my favorite from the day. Look at how heavy that wave is! Pure hawaii, baby! Other camera settings for surf photography: aperture 2.8 and usually exposure bias of -1/3 to -2/3. Generally i'm looking for speeds at 2000 and faster. I like to keep iso low-- around 200 in good light, but some days i have to move it up to 400. I try not to go any higher than that as the color tends to suffer as a tradeoff for the speed. 

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

breaking into the light, secrets, kauai, hawaii

Just like any other time, you need to be aware of the direction of the light (sun). I often find that shooting a wave while looking into the sun gives a glassy, almost mercury (quick silver!) quality to the wave. It's really hard to pull it off, and i'm not confident that i did it here, but it's always worth a try. You can sometimes pull off from stellar shots that are unique in a liquidy metallic nature. Often these shots lend themselves well to black and white. 

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

breaking into the light (bw), secrets, kauai, hawaii

This shot is a continuation of the color photo above. I just processed this one in black and white, using a yellow filter preset as the base and customizing the adjustments from there. This reminds me, when shooting surf photography I always use the high frame setting (rapid/continuous shutter) and i'll often also use the AI SERVO auto focus setting that tracks moving objects (the wave). Other times I'll focus on a certain area and shoot what comes into it.

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

colors falling right on the beach, secrets, kauai, hawaii

all photos in today's blog were taken with a canon 5d3 and a canon 70-200ii/2.8 L series lens, nikon circular polarizer and black rapid shoulder strap.

well, i've run out of things to say so i guess that's all for today.

thanks for visiting.

have a great aloha friday!

aloha, 

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beach hawaii kauai kauai photography north shore photography by lee scott secrets secrets beach shore break tropical storm julio waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/one-morning-at-secrets-part-two Fri, 15 Aug 2014 21:17:26 GMT
one morning at secrets (part one) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/one-morning-at-secrets-part-one Secrets is my favorite beach in the world. Every time i go i am inspired by the beauty, variety and power of nature. 

The following photos were all taken on the morning of tuesday, august 12, 2014-- a day blessed by tropical storm julio, passing far to the north, but who's influence gave kauai blue skies and big waves. I'll post more photos in parts two and three friday and saturday. I hope you enjoy this one morning at secrets. 

aloha,

lee

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days. reflections and horizon, secrets, kauai, hawaii

chose the little v shape at the end of the tidal pool as the area of focus, hoping that that point would lead the viewer to survey the entire scene. In my landscape photography I often do this, choosing a seemingly random area of focus hoping that that point will act as a starting point for the viewer to study the entire scene. In this example, i found it relatively pleasing to scan slowly from the reflecting pool to the extended rock formations to the rock grouping 3/4 of the way across the image, and from there, to the little island off kilauea point and finally to the lighthouse. 

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

rushing stars, secrets, kauai, hawaii

During the shoot i became mesmerized by the foam and water as it rushed down the shore, breaking apart, becoming absorbed by the sand as it went. I imagined it to be like stars rushing below me on a rocket ride through the universe or (space mountain). This movement and speed became  so interesting to me. It basically became the whole point of the sunrise shoot. 

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

running at speed, secrets, kauai, hawaii

The influence of tropical storm julio led to clear skies with only a few clouds floating on the horizon. The drama, it seemed to me, lie in the rushing ocean water and beach. Of course, you know me and movement and energy-- if i am able to find it and communicate it, then 'mo bettah! :-)

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

to guide me, secrets, kauai, hawaii

I sped up the shutter a little on this one to get the line of frothy foam, leading to the light on the horizon. I like this shot as it reminds me of the guru or the dispeller of light.

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

shore break, secrets, kauai, hawaii

With the sun well up and the swell well nigh, i decided to work on an idea that i have been playing with for a while now: beach from a shell's eye view. For this shot and the next one, i place my camera on top of a bean bag that is itself, lying on the sand. In order to frame the shot it was necessary for me to lie down in prone position-- right on the sand. I chose a little spot that seemed high and protected and and shot with a relatively slow shutter speed. I wanted to convey the feeling of being right on the beach with a crashing wave. 

 

the influence of julio-- blue sky and waves for days.

shore break left, secrets, kauai, hawaii

For this shot, in order to get to get more of the beach i moved forward on my sandy ledge a bit and shot down onto the wave. I kept the shutter speed the same as the previous shot, but this time i was intent on getting that left shore breaking wave mid-break. The low sun in the east shines right on the sweet spot, too, making this shot a keeper.

All photos in today's blog were taken with a canon 5d3 and a canon 16-35/f2.8 L series lens. b+w circular polarizer, tripod and bean bag (the last two) were also used.

mahalo for visiting!

lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beach hawaii kauai kauai photography kilauea lighthouse" north shore photography by lee scott point" secrets secrets beach secrets beach sunrise sky sunrise waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/one-morning-at-secrets-part-one Thu, 14 Aug 2014 21:51:06 GMT
aliomanu beach (north) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/aliomanu-beach-north shark oil beach (manoali beach)

aliomanu dawn, north aliomanu beach, kauai, hawaii

 

North Aliomanu Beach is a little out of the way pocket of sand and black rocks on the east side. I don't shoot here often, but if i need to see an unobstructed sun rise over the ocean this is one of the places that i'll go-- year round.

 

shark oil beach (manoali beach)

eco light, north aliomanu beach, kauai, hawaii

 

While there isn't much sand here, it's likely that you'll be the only person on the beach at any given time. You may run into a hippie or two-- clothed or unclothed-- and quite possibly a throw net or tako fisherman. 

 

shark oil beach (manoali beach)

sun like the moon, north aliomanu beach, kauai, hawaii

 

shark oil beach (manoali beach)

all to yourself, north aliomanu beach, kauai, hawaii

 

There are not too many shells to be found here, and the sand is corse from all the broken coral form the protective outer reef. 

 

shark oil beach (manoali beach)

lines in the sand, north aliomanu beach, kauai, hawaii

shark oil beach (manoali beach)

aloha, 

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beach east side hawaii kauai kauai photography north aliomanu beach photography by lee scott https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/aliomanu-beach-north Tue, 12 Aug 2014 01:41:32 GMT
calm before the storms https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/calm-before-the-storms moloa'a bay before Isellecalm before the stormsthe day before iselle is to arrive i went to moloa'a bay for sunrise.

calm before the storms, moloa'a bay, kauai, hawaii

With two hurricanes heading toward the state-- Iselle expected to hit the big island this afternoon and Julio expected sometime sunday-- i went to my local spot at moloa'a bay and found calm before the storms.

moloa'a baythe day before iselle is to arrive i went to moloa'a bay for sunrise.

 wings, moloa'a bay, kauai, hawaii

The mini is filled with gas and there's a little over half a tank in the fj. Headlamps are charged and candles are ready. All of our water bottles and glass jars are filled with water and waiting in the fridge. Naomi is baking several loaves of bread today, and we harvested bananas and mangos after taking these pictures this morning. Camping supplies are organized and so is the first aid kit. We're prepared and hoping for the best.

moloa'a baythe day before iselle is to arrive i went to moloa'a bay for sunrise.

sun and splash at moloa'a bay, kauai, hawaii

I will close the gallery Friday as Iselle is expected to impact kauai with tropical storm force winds and heavy rains early Friday afternoon. Hopefully Iselle will be nothing more than a gentle breeze and blessing and then we'll get ready for Julio. I plan on opening the gallery Saturday, but may not be able to. It all depends on the conditions, whether or not we have power and the track of Julio. 

moloa'a baythe day before iselle is to arrive i went to moloa'a bay for sunrise.

waterfall, moloa'a bay, kauai, hawaii

Throughout the storms my online gallery will be up and accepting orders, and although i may not be able to confirm orders immediately, please rest assured that i will get to them as soon as i can. 

mola'a baythe day before iselle is to arrive i went to moloa'a bay for sunrise.

storms a coming, moloa'a bay, kauai, hawaii

To all of the states' visitors-- be safe! To all of my friends and family, Mahalo for your thoughts and prayers. We'll be OK. We'll just have to hunker down with the cats for a few days. 

aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Iselle Julio bay hawaii hurricane kauai kauai photography moloa'a north shore photography by lee scott sunrise https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/8/calm-before-the-storms Thu, 07 Aug 2014 21:59:18 GMT
ke'e to hanakapi'ai valley https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/kee-to-hanakapi-ai-valley sunrise on the kalalau trail

sunrise seen from the kalalau trail, kauai, hawaii

If i hike the kalalau, i always start early. Especially in the summer time when parking at ke'e can get crazy! 

We pulled into the parking lot at ke'e beach just before 6 am. There were already more than a few cars, and even a few people drying off after their (early) morning swim. (Side note, in the SUMMER it is quite popular to swim into hanakapi'ai beach and run out along the trail. But only in the SUMMER as winter surf conditions make this way too dangerous).

Our planned route was to hike to the bamboo grove in hanakapi'ai valley, then go up the hill a way's toward space out rock and then return to ke'e for a little beach time. I'll include a few pics of hanakapi'ai falls in this blog though, just so you get an idea of what awaits you at the end of the valley.

quintessential kauai, kauai, hawaii

This view is from the .25 mile marker of the kalalau trail. It is one of my favorite views of the entire hike. They recently cleared out the heiau (hawaiian temple) dedicated to the hula that sits in ruins right below this spot. If you only hike a portion of the kalalau trail make sure you at least go this far-- mile marker .25. 

 

If you continue on the trail you continue to climb up the verdant cliffs one rocky step at a time. The views get more expansive after you round the bend at mile marker .5 and from here on out you are hiking the napali coast. The trail winds up and down smaller valleys in a rather monotonous (but beautiful) hike of red path, green hills and green apple and blue sea.

the napali coast seen from the kalalau trail, kauai, hawaii

This is why you are doing this hike! Views like this fill your soul with aloha!   

Two miles in and you arrive at hanakapi'ai beach where in the summer golden sand welcomes you with a rush of running waves. In the winter, however, a vicious shore break and nasty currents warn you off the beach and away from the surf. 

hanakapi'ai beach and wave hanakapi'ai beach in da summer, kauai, hawaii 

We rested here for a few pics and snacks, took off our shoes and frolicked on the beach. We didn't make any cairns, but we saw a lot of 'em!

Zen StonesZen StonesA stack of stones, known as a cairn, at Hanakapi'ai Beach mark two miles on the Kalalau Trail.
Hanakapi'ai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

zen stones, hanakapi'ai beach, kauai, hawaii

Well rested and refreshed by the cool hanakapi'ai stream, we turn mauka and head into hanakapi'ai valley. Here the trail narrows and becomes a little more difficult as you climb above the stream and enter into the valley jungle. Our destination on the day was the bamboo grove, maybe a quarter mile in from the beach.

bamboo in hanakapi'ai valley

bamboo grove, hanakapi'ai valley, kauai, hawaii

 

big tree, hanakapi'ai valley, kauai, hawaii

Continuing on towards hanakapi'ai falls, you will cross hanakapi'ai stream several times. Generally, summertime conditions are relatively dry and rock hopping makes the stream crossings pretty easy. During the wetter winter months, the entire trail becomes much more difficult as the stream rises and the mud thickens. 

Hanakapi'ai FallsDeptha look into hanakapi'ai valley and hanakapi'ai falls
Hanakapi'ai Falls Trail, Hanakapi'ai Valley, Kauai

depth, hanakapi'ai falls, kauai, hawaii

 

We hike back towards the beach and the kalalau trail proper and decide to go up the hill a little ways toward space out rock. Naomi's never been up this way so i wanted to show her these cool plants that line the cliff all the way up. 

along the kalalau trail

the kalalau trail in green and blue, kalalau trail, kauai, hawaii

We turn back here with the promise of hiking to space out rock next week. 

blue and green, kalalau trail, kauai, hawaii

one last glance over the shoulder, kalalau trail, kauai, hawaii

Our hike lasted 5 and half hours and we climbed 1,637 feet and descended 1,631 feet in about 5 miles. 

Afterwards, i enjoyed Hazelnut Ale from Rogue Breweries and an afternoon nap.

Aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hanakapi'ai falls hanakapi'ai falls trail hawaii kalalau trail kauai kauai photography north shore photography by lee scott https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/kee-to-hanakapi-ai-valley Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:28:40 GMT
nature's therapy https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/natures-therapy

sunset therapy with sand under my feet, lumahai beach, kauai

Sometimes i have to get into nature and just feel her nurturing presence. Of course being a photographer i get out in nature a lot, but that's always with a camera and a photographic/artistic objective. Some days i just need to be out there first, and think of pictures later.

designed by the sea, lumahai beach, kauai

Yesterday was one of those days. One of those days where i needed sand under my feet and a waves lapping at my heels. And once healed by nature then, and only then, was i able to take the camera out of the bag.

lumahai beach

sand beneath my feet, lumahai beach, kauai

 

Usually i visit lumahai for sunrises and waves, but since i was going for healing powers and not photography, i thought lumahai would be perfect for the feeling of the day. Nature is so giving. So calming. So powerful. She is a nurturing mother who always takes us in. She is a friend who listens to our soul. She is an example on how to live honestly and happily. She my lifelong teacher to whom i am forever grateful.

 

ironwood pine and clouds on the horizon, lumahai beach, kauai

aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii kauai kauai photography lumahai north shore photography by lee scott sky sunset waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/natures-therapy Mon, 28 Jul 2014 23:51:38 GMT
what inspires you? https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/what-inspires-you sunstar at ke'e beachsunset sunstarke'e sunset

is it the final warm rays of the sun just before it sets beyond the horizon?

 

clouds above ke'e beachke'e sunset

is it the clouds in the sky that carry you away to a time and place that only your memory and your soul know?

 

Kauai SunsetSunset in Pink and BlueThis is one of my favorite photos from 2014. The colors put me at peace and warm my soul with brilliant Kauai hues.
Ke'e Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

is it finding the abstract in the real?

 

larsens sunrise

is it the delicate beauty of the petals that make a flower and knowing that the colors that make the flower make up the sunset, too?

 

scarred skyscarred skyke'e sunset

is it traveling to a favorite place or to somewhere new?

 

larsens sunrise

is it in spending time with a loved one or friend?

have a great weekend.

aloha,

lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) flowers hawaii kalalau trail kauai kauai photography ke'e beach ke'e sunset lumahai north shore photography by lee scott sky sunset waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/what-inspires-you Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:53:17 GMT
street photography (country kine) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/street-photography-country-kine moloa'a bay sunrise ironwoods pine, moloa'a bay, kauai

Since moving to moloa'a in april i often take morning walks to moloa'a bay and back.  The photos in this blog are from two such mornings. We can call it street photography (country kine).

 

moloa'a bay sunrise

island hoops, moloa'a, kauai

 

moloa'a bay sunrise

plumeria and stars, moloa'a, kauai

 

moloa'a bay sunrise

trash day, moloa'a, kauai

 

fan, moloa'a, kauai

 

moloa'a bay sunrise

the walk continues, moloa'a, kauai

 

house in da trees, moloa'a, kauai

 

still a little green yet, moloa'a, kauai

 

gecko and banana

but look to be perfect for him, moloa'a, kauai

 

These walks are a blessing to my mind and soul. 

mahalo mama kauai!

aloha, lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) bananas flowers gecko hawaii kauai kauai photography moloa'a photography by lee scott plumeria street photography tropical flowers https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/street-photography-country-kine Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:32:21 GMT
star shots-- basic tips https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/star-shots

can't count 'em all, kalalau beach, kauai, hawaii. f2.8, 30 sec, iso 2000

Can't count 'em all is one of the two images displayed in the gallery that people ask me about the most. 

How'd you do that?

What kind of filter did you use?

Are those stars?

Is that lava?

Is that on the big island?

Do you have a motor that tracks the stars?

How come the stars are't moving?

And many more questions expressing both wonder and disbelief.

Many of the questions that i am asked about that shot are concern the settings and camera, but i always answer first with the location-- kalalau beach, at the end of an 11 mile long hike, deep in the wilderness that is the napali coast. You see, i think that's the most important part of night photography-- location and effort. Quite simply, in order to get the stars to show up well in a photo you need a black sky and that means you need to get yourself to somewhere, anywhere with little to no light pollution. I live in kauai so i am relatively lucky, but you can still find a black sky near to where you are, too. Just go online and look for "black sky maps" or "dark sky maps". I'm sure something will pop up that you can use to direct you to a dark location full of brilliant stars.

The second thing you need to consider--way before even taking the camera out of the bag-- is time: both time of the year (season) and time of the month (phase of the moon). Here on kauai we get a bright milky way from the end of june to about the beginning of october. And of course the milky way is brightest during these months when we have a new or black moon. If you can't shoot with a new moon, then look for a waning crescent or a waxing crescent moon. For me, unless if i am shooting star trails, i don't even try to shoot the milky way in the fall or winter. Millions of stars just not going to show up as well as they do in the summer. Likewise, i don't even bother the night sky when the moon is big. Sleep is just too valuable to waste on those nights with poor light. So in order to shoot the milky way, you are basically down to three or four nights a month, three or four months of the year. Which means when you go out to photograph the night sky, you better make it count. 

 

Kauai Night SkyKoke'e Night Sky and Paper Bark TreeI'm always looking for lone trees. I just love to photograph 'em. To me, they are symbols of strength, perseverance, community, shelter and much much more.
I drove up to koke'e early one evening on the night following a newl moon, looking for a tree that i could include in a shot of the milky way. I had been up the night prior, and photographed a big, fluffy mango tree, but wasn't totally satisfied with the results. I actually felt like I left something up on the mountain. So I decided to go up again and give it another try. I'm glad I did I am really pleased with this shot. I really like the dynamism of this picture. I also like how the paper bark tree encourages you to leave it and explore the image in it's totality. I wanted something that would show the earth and universe on the same plane. And I think this image conveys that feeling. After taking several shots, I called it a night and slept under this sky at my campsite in Koke'e. Waimea Canyon and Koke'e are truly special places on this very special island.
Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii


*12"x18" Metal Print SOLD OUT
*16"x24" Metal Print SOLD OUT

koke'e night sky and paper bark tree, koke'e, kauai, hawaii. f2.8, 30 sec, iso 2000

 

Oh, i almost forgot-- don't bother with an overly overcast or cloudy sky. Check the weather! Plan your night shoot! This is very important!!! But, don't let a few clouds deter you, as they can add a sense of mystery and color to the night scene. Like the shot above of the paper bark tree-- i was worried that the clouds would obstruct the milky way. But it turned out ok. Incidentally, this shot was taken with a waxing crescent moon, 6% full. The light shining on the tree is from my headlamp. It's a technique called "painting" and i'll talk more about that later.

closer than you think, polihale, kauai, hawaii. f2.8, 25 sec, iso 2000

 

All right, so now that we've got the preliminaries out of the way-- black sky, no light pollution, time of the year, phase of the moon, weather-- let's talk about the basic settings and equipment that you'll need to get those stellar shots.

1. camera

2. lens (wide angle preferably. i'll tell you why in a second....)

3. tripod

these are really the only things that you absolutely need. optional items would maybe be

4. remote shutter switch (for exposures lasting more than 30 seconds or to minimize camera shake. you can also shoot with the mirror looked in "UP" position).

5. motor to track the stars (very expensive. i've only used once. when i was in college. in an astronomy lab. we photographed the moon. i have no idea how they work and can't really say anything about it other than i think it would be pretty cool to have).

6. headlamp or flashlight for safety and if you want to do any light painting.

7. delicious beverage

Now, just like everything else in the universe, star shots are no different-- there are many ways to do it. What i'm about to tell you is just how i do it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Try it and see how it works for you.

OK, camera settings. I use a canon 5d3 so these are the settings that seem to work well for my camera. Yours may be different, but not significantly, i don't think... anyway, here we go..

iso-- 1600 ~ 2000.

lately i've been shooting star shots at 2000 iso. This high iso allows lots of light to soak sensor. The problem with shooting at such a high iso is that the image will take on a bit of noise or a grainy look. for this reason i always shoot with noise reduction "ON". This in-camera feature helps to reduce the resulting noise of shooting at such a high iso (as well as the resulting noise from shooting at longer exposures). You should also try to minimize the effect of noise in post processing. 

aperture-- f2.8 (or the smallest f-stop that your lens allows). Basically what you want is a big hole to let in a lot of light. 

shutter speed-- 500/focal length = the number of seconds you can leave the shutter open before the stars begin to streak, causing unwanted blur and general fuzziness). Now, i shoot all of my star shots with a 16-35/ 2.8 wide angle lens. I almost always leave it at the 16mm focal length. So using the above formula (500/16) i can leave the shutter open for 31.25 seconds before the stars begin to "move." If your lens of choice is a 24mm focal length lens then you have (500/24) 20.8 seconds to leave the shutter open before streaking occurs. That may not be enough time to get a good, strong, bright starry sky. My advice would be to go shopping or borrow your friends wide angle lens. 

focus-- manual, infinity or do what i often do and set up early, auto focus on an object while it is still light and then set the lens to manual focus and then wait until it gets dark. very dark. the only problem with this method is that you may not know exactly where the milky way will be in the night sky. also helpful for focusing is a strong headlamp. you can shine light on an object nearby and let the lens pick it up then fire away. with this technique you will need to use a timer or remote switch. 

light painting-- if you choose you can light up the foreground by shining a headlamp, flashlight, cellphone, etc... for a portion of the exposure. say 5 seconds or so. it's all trial and error so take a few shots and play with it a bit. i lit the paper bark tree for 5 above ​or you can leave the foreground in silhouette like i did with the tree in the photo below. 

waimea town and milky waywith waimea in the distanceon the slopes of waimea i searched for a tree to place underneath the milky way. i really like the lights of waimea town in the distance and feel that these lights add sense of depth and an identifiable marker for our minds. the universe is not so far away. actually, we are in it.
location: waimea, kauai
series: hikari

on the slopes of waimea, waimea, kauai. f2.8, 30 sec, iso 2000

 

As for composition, i don't really have any rules or advice. Every tip or hint or rule regarding composition can be broken to brilliant effect so who am i to tell you how to compose a shot. Just keep in mind that on some nights it may be difficult to find the milky way with the naked eye so you may need to take a couple of shots in order to locate the galaxy, but once you dial it in, you should be good to go. Just frame it however you think it looks good. 

passing light, rapa nui (easter island), chile. f5, 30 sec, iso 400

And finally, remember that sometimes if you arrive early to a sunrise you may also be able to get a few star shots in while you wait. 

Those are some of the basics of star shots. Good luck and have fun!

Aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii kalalau kalalau beach kalalau trail kauai kauai photography koke'e koke'e night sky koke'e state park milky way night photography night sky paper bark tree photography by lee scott polihale sky stars waimea waimea town https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/star-shots Sat, 19 Jul 2014 00:04:56 GMT
the cosmic dance https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/cosmic-dance these photos of the cosmic dance were taken during an early morning shoot at a location i call "pinnacles". it is on the south side of the island, along the heritage trail, somewhere between shipwrecks and maha'ulepu, kauai, hawaii.

light wave fly

 

the cosmic dance of time and spacethe cosmic dance of time and spacepinnacles

the cosmic dance (of time and space)

 

streamstreampinnacles

stream of consciousness

 

how shapes take formhow shapes take formpinnacles

how shapes take form

 

movement all around youmovement all around youpinnacles

movement all around us (the flow of the universe)

 

 

graced by timegraced by timepinnacles

graced by time

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) buddhism consciousness hawaii kauai kauai photography landscape nd nd filter photography photography by lee scott pinnacles poipu seascape slow shutter speed south side waves https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/cosmic-dance Thu, 17 Jul 2014 22:35:05 GMT
a slogfest to guardian falls https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/the-foot-of-waialeale-guardian-falls muddy. muddy. muddy! oh, slippery, too! full on jungle hiking/river wading/rock hopping adventure!

alas, no pictures of the bog because i was afraid i'd drop my camera and lose it forever in the deep, dark mud.

the trail to guardian falls starts where loop road ends, well passed the rainbow eucalyptus filled keahua arboretum at the end of kuamo'o road. 

guardian falls, kauai

giant rainbow eucalyptus at the keahua arboretum

guardian falls, kauai

an african tulip tree at the beginning of loop road, just past the first water crossing where kuamo'o road ends

from this point on you need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to continue. the unpaved road has one (sometimes two, depending on the rains) water crossing and plenty of mud holes to drive through. fortunately, my fj loves these adventures and i am getting used to them, too. 

there are several side roads that lead to various trailheads and waterholes but the main road leads to the trailhead for the blue hole (waialeale), guardian falls, and weeping wall hikes. 

as i mentioned above, the trail is very muddy. some sections are literally knee deep. we hiked in tabis and although the mud greatly diminished the felt sole's rock-gripping-power of the tabis, they were probably a better choice to hiking shoes/boots as we were often off the trail and into the river. rock hopping was a little difficult on the day we hiked due to the high river, but over some sections of trail it was the better alternative to crawling on hands and knees under downed mossy trees and ewok abodes.

after about 2 hours of slogging through the bog and wading through the river (we hooked onto the wrong trail and got off course somewhere along the way) we came to guardian falls, a splendid waterfall with mt. waialeale in the distance.

guardian falls, kauaiapproaching the source of the wailuaguardian falls, kauai is at about the halfway point of a grueling trail to the weeping wall or base of waialeale. the hike to this point is a combination of river crossings, rock hoppings, and muddy jungle forays. the water is cool and fresh and near to the source of the sacred wailua.
location: guardian falls, kauai
series: hikari

guardian falls near the source of the wailua river

guardian fallsGuardian Fallsguardian falls, kauai is at about the halfway point of a grueling trail to the weeping wall or base of waialeale. the hike to this point is a combination of river crossings, rock hoppings, and muddy jungle forays. the water is cool and fresh and near to the source of the sacred wailua.
wailua, kauai

guardian falls with the flanks of waialeale and ever present clouds in the distance

just off to the left of guardian falls is a cool little gorge with a secondary waterfall. not sure if this area and fall has a proper name, but here it is...

originally we planned to continue on all the way to the weeping wall, but i broke one of my hiking poles sliding into an ewok hole so we decided this was enough for one day of adventure. we turned around and made good time on the way out. the trail seemed a little more straightforward and we were able to hike along the sides of the river a bit more, which also seemed to make the going easier.

guardian falls, kauai a bamboo grove near to the end of the trail

all in all a difficult hike-- extremely muddy, wet, slippery, with lots of thick bush hitting you in the face and grabbing at your body. oh, and did i mention the mosquitos?!

if you venture out to guardian falls be prepared for amazing scenery and a pretty wild adventure.

aloha,

lee

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) guardian falls hiking kauai kauai photography kauai waterfalls keahua arboretum photography by lee scott rainbow eucalyptus tree waialeale wailua river waterfall https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/7/the-foot-of-waialeale-guardian-falls Thu, 03 Jul 2014 21:59:01 GMT
it's gonna be a good one https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/3/its-gonna-be-a-good-one when i looked out the window and saw the clouds-- light fluffy ones like icing-- and the little line of sky between the horizon and those clouds, i knew the sunrise was going to be good. i walked away from the window and went back a few minutes later and i knew it. i had to go take a look. i knew i didn't have much time so i hurriedly grabbed my camera and bag told naomi to meet me at anini 'cause i was going to work. and i'm glad i did.

below are some pics of this week's epic sunrise on kauai's north shore.

all of the photos were taken at a little spot that i like just before anini beach park. 

aloha,

lee

 

it's gonna be a good one, anini beach, kauai, 6:50:22 am 

rise and shine, anini beach, kauai, 6:51:22 am

 

anini beach, kauai, 6:53:09 am

 

sunstar, anini beach, kauai, 7:05:28 am

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) anini beach anini sunrise epic hawaii hawaii sunrise kauai kauai sunrise kauai, north shore sunrise https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/3/its-gonna-be-a-good-one Sat, 08 Mar 2014 22:16:52 GMT
views and review of the kukui trail https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/3/views-of-the-kukui-trail the kukui trail begins with with gentle nature loop along the rim of waimea canyon and falls down to the waimea river below.

k8k8 nature loop, kukui trail

you can find parking just mile marker 8 on waimea canyon drive. be prepared for a hike straight down nearly from the start.

k7k7

morning dancer

the nature trail has placards indicating hawaiian flora and great views of waimea canyon and the kukui trail. when we hiked the trail in late february, 2014, the trail was in excellent condition. verdant canyon walls mixed with rich red clay and numerous waterfalls made for quite a view at each switchback.

 

k6k6

the kukui trail

the hike down was steep in some areas, but there were only two sections that seemed dangerously narrow. and even these two areas weren't that bad. as always hiking sticks or trekking poles really made the hike easier. 

k3k3

naomi having fun on the kukui trail

once off the red clay you enter into a dense jungle. i read several reviews online stating that this section was difficult to navigate, but we found it to be pretty straightforward and easily recognized numerous trailblazers indicating the route. with that said, we didn't find this section to be particularly enjoyable as it was very buggy! the mosquitos were insane!

the reward of the buggy area

the campsite at the bottom wasn't much either so i think if we were to do the hike again we would stop were the red dirt ends.

k5k5

verdant and red waimea canyon

the kukui trail from the start to the waimea river at the bottom of the canyon and back is 5 miles long. we started early and didn't see anyone until about a mile left to go (on our return trip back up the canyon). although the bottom (mosquito land) was muddy the main portion of the trail (canyon land) was dry.

all in all i'd give the kukui trail 3 stars. great views of the canyon, not crowded, trail is safe and in good condition, and it is a good way to get in some exercise. 

aloha, 

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii hikes hiking kauai kauai hikes kauai images kauai photography kauai westside kukui trail kukui trail review the kukui trail waimea waimea canyon https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/3/views-of-the-kukui-trail Mon, 03 Mar 2014 22:05:26 GMT
pinnacles at poipu-- high risk, high return https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/2/pinnacles-at-poipu---high-risk-high-return-photography aloha!

long time no blog. 

i hope you have all been well and that your new year is off to a pleasant start.

in this blog, i want to introduce you to the pinnacles that run all along the heritage trail from poipu to mahaulepu-- on the south side of kauai.

pinnacles at poipu, kauaipinnacles and fan of a waveanother sunrise on the south shore sees blue skies and day full of promise and aloha.
mahaulepu, poipu, hawaii

pinnacles and time

the picture above is one of my favorite places to shoot on the south shore and on the day of this shoot, naomi and i woke up early so that we could get a few sunrise shots either on or in the pinnacles. this day was gonna be all about high risk-high return. 

we arrived at shipwrecks early-- well before sunrise-- and affixed our headlamps and began our little hike to my favorite pinnacles.

although i knew where i wanted to shoot, and how to get there,  i wasn't quite sure how i was going to get the sunrise and the pinnacles in the same shot. so when we arrived at the location i had to scout around a bit-- climbing up and down, over and in the pinnacle formations all the while keeping an eye on the horizon for signs of where exactly the sun would appear. climbing into the pinnacles was a bit tricky. and once when i thought i had a good spot i took out the camera and tripod only to have a big wave splash all over me.

um, this spots not gonna work.

now, how to get down safely!?

without injuring camera or body.

while the sun's beginning rise!?

 

this is what i call "high risk-high return photography." high risk because of the location-- proximity to heights and drop-offs, water and waves, strange or unfamiliar angles, and other compositional challenges. basically when shooting high risk-high return you're taking a chance that while some of your photos may turn out interesting or spectacularly unique, you are also risking the light, the gear, and pretty much the entire shoot.

i finally found a cramped little corner that would provide a glimpse of the sun, but the angle wasn't that great for the pinnacles. not too great of a return, but the adventure and challenge was fun. after getting a couple of shots here, i decided to climb down and approach the subject from another angle. 

 

sun on the pinnacles (bw)

i like this one. the sun just off the lens, giving a hint of the warmth and light in the day. like the guru.

macbeth

the reason why i look shooting here so much is because of the mysterious quality of this specific section of the heritage trail. it's like another world. one from a different place and time. it reminds me of macbeth, where the time seems out of sync and the loose ends are frayed.

and continuously changing.

aloha,

lee

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii kauai kauai coastline kauai photography mahaulepu photography by lee scott pinnacles poipu poipu, kauai south shore https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/2/pinnacles-at-poipu---high-risk-high-return-photography Thu, 27 Feb 2014 00:01:05 GMT
new year's day on the nualolo https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/1/new-years-on-the-nualolo whatever you do on new year's day you'll do a lot of that year: so make it fun and meaningful. last year i did 108 sun salutations and ended up spending three months in india practicing yoga. this year-- with a peruvian adventure planned for april-- i decided to do a little hiking on new year's day. 

i decided to go to koke'e state park and chose to hike the nualolo trail. naomi and i hiked it two years ago and i really enjoyed it then. i remember it being relatively long (about 8 miles) and a steep climb all the way back. last time it was hot and we ran out of water so this time i took 2 liters with me, lots of new year's mochi and my camera gear-- 5d mark iii, 70-200, 16-34, 100 macro and tripod. hey, i figure if i am going to hike the andeas then i better start getting in shape! 

n1n1koke'e, nualolo trail, kauai, hiking, trekking, outdoor, new year's day

a beautiful blue sky greeted me at koke'e and since it was so clear i decided to drive up to the kalalau lookout. it's rare to get such cloudless view of kalalau, and this spot is one of my favorite places on island. it's always good to see. 

peaceful and quiet and full of the view i drove back to koke'e lodge and set out with the intention of having a safe hike and taking pictures with each lens i packed into my bag.

the nualolo trail starts out in a koa wood forrest and winds its way down the ridge toward the nualolo valley and the napali coast. last time on the trail we walked through beautiful groves of wild ginger, but this time the ginger were few and harder to find. i did see a few banana poka flowers hanging upside down like cute little lights or vampire bunnies. 

n2n2koke'e, nualolo trail, kauai, hiking, trekking, outdoor, new year's day

  n3n3koke'e, nualolo trail, kauai, hiking, trekking, outdoor, new year's day

alright. so far so good and it just gets better. i emerge from the forrest and get this amazing view:

n4n4koke'e, nualolo trail, kauai, hiking, trekking, outdoor, new year's day

from this point on the scenery becomes more expansive as you slowly descend toward the napali coast. the trail continues in and out of green shrub-brush and it's along this area where the slope becomes rather steep. but soon enough you get your first glimpse of the nualolo valley and champagne flute cliffs like this:

n5n5koke'e, nualolo trail, kauai, hiking, trekking, outdoor, new year's day    

and this:

n6n6koke'e, nualolo trail, kauai, hiking, trekking, outdoor, new year's day

the trail now runs along the side of the cliff, and although it may look scary, it's not. there's plenty of room to walk and only one or two areas show signs of significant erosion. the cliff trail-- connecting the nualalo to the awaawapuhi trail-- is still closed so i continued on to the nualolo vista, where the views are quite simply, awesome!

behold, the napali coast:

n8n8koke'e, nualolo trail, kauai, hiking, trekking, outdoor, new year's day

n9n9koke'e, nualolo trail, kauai, hiking, trekking, outdoor, new year's day

not a bad way to spend new year's day-- a little walking in nature, breathing fresh air and taking some pics. i think it's gonna be a good year. 

happy new year everyone!

aloha, 

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii hawaii hikes hiking in hawaii hiking kauai kalalau kalalau lookout kauai kauai hikes kauai landscape photography koke'e koke'e lodge koke'e state park nualolo trail photography photography by lee scott the napali coast https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2014/1/new-years-on-the-nualolo Sun, 05 Jan 2014 22:31:43 GMT
lessons learned https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/12/lessons-learned aloha! thanksgiving has come and gone and with it another defeat to mississippi state (shame on you ole miss!), an amazing iron bowl win for auburn over alabama (war eagle!), and the maui classic saw a new acc champion-- syracuse (syracuse is in the acc? what?).

this morning i went over last month's sales and compiled a list of the gallery's top three sellers for november. and here they are:

Kilauea LighthouseIn the Light of LightningThis shot was particularly challenging as it was taken at 8.45 pm with no artificial lighting-- except for the beacon, which shines behind the kilauea lighthouse. All of the other light in this photo comes from three lightning flashes over one 25 second exposure...
I went out the intention of photographing the lighthouse and lightning bolts, but the lightning strikes were of the cloud-to-cloud variety so i took another approach. I decided to gather light from multiple lightning flashes and use that to light the lighthouse and kilauea point against the ocean and sky. It was incredibly difficult finding enough light to enable the auto focus so that the lighthouse was sharp and clear. It was just too dark for me to manually focus on the lighthouse with any clarity. I tried and tried, but nothing came out sharp. So I waited and waited for the storm to get closer. I waited for the perfect blast of lightning-- one that would be both close enough and bright enough to provide sufficient light for the auto focus to pick up detail in the lighthouse and "focus" where I wanted. And I got it. Once focused, i then turned off the auto focus and tried several shots at various timed exposures, hoping to get several flashes of lightning in one exposure. well, my plan worked, and after three and a half hours in the rain and storm, i got the shot. The reward was well worth the difficulty.
Kilauea Lighthouse and Refuge, Kauai, Hawaii

Photo taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark III, f/2.8 @135mm, 25s, ISO 800, No Flash.

HAWAIIMagazine.com Award Winner, December 2012.

***Limited Edition Metal Prints-- all sizes-- SOLD OUT. Mahalo!

1. in the light of lightning, kilauea lighthouse. web gallery: 2012 limited edition

dreamworlddreamworldi have never seen lumahai so gentle as on the morning of this sunrise. it was like awaking to a dreamworld.
location: lumahai beach, kauai
series: kauai 'mo bettah

2. dreamworld, lumahai, kauai. web gallery: 2012 limited edition

3. can't count 'em all, kalalau, kauai. web gallery: full time

each of these photographs are special to me, and i am glad that they have been well received. over time, all of my pictures take on a special meaning to me-- beyond the beauty of the location displayed in the image-- and often the images come to teach me little lessons about life and myself. 

in the light of lightning has taught me patience. dreamworld reminds me to be open to the possibility and truths of which i am ignorant. you see, when the morning i took the picture, i was planning on shooting the lumahai river, it's reflections and floating hao (a tropical flower). but when i looked up and saw the sky, i knew i had to change my plans-- and the lens! so be open ideas of others and to things beyond our control. and can't count 'em all has encouraged me to explore the world through night photography, and to be thankful for the moments of work and effort and safe travels. also when i look up at the milky way over kalalau i am reminded of the wisdom of the past (cultures and worlds) and know that it is different from the knowledge of the present (modern society and life). and i think this has inspired me in my recent readings on the arctic and eskimo teachings; zen and dogen. 

mahalo for all of your support!

aloha,

lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) can't count 'em all dreamworld hawaii in the light of lightning kalalau kauai kilauea lighthouse lessons learned lumahai milky way night sky november light source past cultures photography the kalalau trail top three wisdom zen https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/12/lessons-learned Sun, 01 Dec 2013 20:18:56 GMT
the depth of a dew-drop https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/the-depth-of-a-dewdrop dewdrop in the grass, kilauea, kauai

recently, i purchased two books about zen. the first is by peter matthiessen, titled nine-headed dragon river: zen journals. the second, i am saving for christmas, but it's a collection of eihei dogen's writings on zen. i started zen journals last week and have unwittingly stumbled upon some wonderful passages by dogen. i guess it's unavoidable in a book about zen, but it's definitely been a pleasant surprise to read inspiring verses by the old japanese zen master, and one that has me looking forward to opening my self-purchased christmas present! i'm still being a good boy and leaving the book by dogen on the shelf until the 25th (or maybe the 24th!), but i want to share a thought from dogen about the depth and potential of the everyday.

dew drop in the grass 2, kilauea, kauai

in the actualization of the koan (a koan is a zen riddle that cannot be solved by the intellect alone) dogen writes:

The whole moon and the whole sky are reflected 

in a dew-drop in the grass, in one drop of water.

Enlightenment does not disturb the person,

just as the moon does not disturb the water.

first of all, i love the imagery of the dewdrop reflecting the moon and the sky. i also love the concept of the great and vast enclosed in the tiny and fragile. it's like an affirmation of life everywhere. and everywhere-- no matter how big and seemingly important or how small and seemingly insignificant-- has the potential for everything. there are no limits with this mindset. anything is possible. and all past ways of thought are null and void. it's a classic zen flip. it reminds me, too, of looking back to earth from outer space. have you ever seen that? it's amazing how small the earth appears, and by relationship, us too. so tiny. so small in the grand scheme of things. enlightenment, happiness and peace are there are here for us to awaken to. it's just a  matter of seeing it. of feeling it. of living it. 

drop in, limahuli gardens, kauai

dogen continues:

A person does not hinder enlightenment, just as a dew-drop   

does not hinder the moon in the sky.

The depth of the dewdrop is the height of the moon.

i love that last line--the depth of the dew drop is the height of the moon. every time i read i get chicken skin. the words together make me high. i can't explain it any other way. they just send me soaring. the depth of the dew-drop is the height of the moon all things are equal. there is nothing insignificant. there is nothing more important than anything else. enlightenment is not an exalted status. it's just enlightenment. it's just happiness. it's just seeing. it's just breathing. it's just being. no more, no less. it's not the moon, it's the humble dew-drop. it's not the dew-drop, it's the high moon. it's everything. it's all things. it's work. it's play. it's life. it's death. they are all the same. so beautiful! can't wait till christmas! :-)

like stars in the sky, kilauea, kauai

have a great day.

aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) buddhism dew-drop green kauai kilauea macro nature https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/the-depth-of-a-dewdrop Mon, 25 Nov 2013 20:47:36 GMT
light https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/light-is-a-living-part-of-the-scene

tiki, poipu, kauai

i have been reading arctic dreams by barry lopez off and on for the last month or so. i've learned about muskox and polar bears. icebergs and eskimos. but what i have found most interesting is lopez's thoughts about how the landscape and light shape the individual consciousness. Writing about the luminist painters of the 19th century he says that in their successful paintings there was a "loss of ego" where "the artist disappears. The authority of the work lies, instead, with the land. And the light in them is like a creature, a living, integral part of the scene."

as a landscape photographer i found this thought appealing. Light as life. Not only a source of energy but energy itself. As you may know, my photographer's name is 光 (hikari). It's taken from the japanese kanji for light. I find the shape of the kanji to be incredibly energetic, dynamic, and yes, positive-- all concepts that i wish to portray in my photography. but i am not sure if i ever considering light to be a living force in the image. i think rather i just felt it to be the communicator, or the conductor of energy between the scene and the viewer, the image and me, nature and us.

good morning sunshinegood morning sunshinekealia sunrise, kauai, hawaii

good morning sunshine, kealia, kauai

mystics of all religions seek to experience the spiritual. faith, study, and practice may all lead to an understanding of the divine, but it's the transcendent experience of the divine that is nature's blessing. i often tell people who come into the gallery that all i do is choose a time and a perspective, but everything else is god, kauai, nature. i can't make a cloud pink or a sky blue. all of that is light. it ain't me. i ain't the one that can turn the ocean green and jump up in a wave or make a lotus bloom. that's all nature , and that's all a mystical experience of the divine. and if i don't communicate that then i've failed as a photographer and what i want to do with my photography. well, i don't say all of that every time, but you get the idea. :-)

the mystical kealia, kauai

thus concludes thoughts on light.

aloha!

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) arctic dreams by barry lopez buddhism guru hawaii kauai kealia kealia beach light mystic mystical poilu sun tiki https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/light-is-a-living-part-of-the-scene Sun, 24 Nov 2013 21:24:57 GMT
the world out there is the life in here https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/the-world-out-there-is-the-life-in-here

the world out there is the life in here, princeville, kauai

The construction of a "world out there" simultaneously creates a "self in here," and this discord is called duhkha.  

    ~ Michael Stone in Freeing the Body, Freeing the Mind

central to yogic and buddhist thought is duhkha. duhkha is a sanskrit word that is often translated as suffering, but i have also seen it translated as something akin to an overall feeling of dissatisfaction with the state of things, or quite simply, unhappiness. the buddha is famous for saying that life is suffering, but he also said, just as plainly, that there is an end to suffering. so no worries, right? 

what causes suffering? well basically it's ignorance (avidya) or an inability to see things as they really are. this is the duhkha that michael stone and other yogis talk about and it's essentially separation. separation from the self and the Self, the self and the world, and the self and other. but to put it simply it's separation between ourselves and everything. when really, we are everything.

 feed me seymor!, poipu, kauai

to look back at the quote from michael stone, he says that there is really no difference from the world outside and the Self within. but because we see things as different-- as outside/inside; me/you; physical/spiritual; temporal/emotional; past/future-- we create a dichotomy of existence that leads to suffering, duhkha so where do these dualities cease? the answer lies in the breath of the present moment, and this is also where we can begin to see things as they truly are-- not in the fantasies of our imagination nor in the past of our longings and clingings.

so the life out there is the world inside. there is no difference. zen teaches that the body and mind are one and not two and that the mind is the energy of the universe. there is no separation and there is no limit. there is no place where i end and you begin. there is no marker. there is only life and breath. 

flowering universe, poipu, kauai

aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Freeing the Body, Freeing the Mind buddhism clouds duhkha flowers four noble truths macro poipu sky south shore suffering yoga zen https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/the-world-out-there-is-the-life-in-here Fri, 22 Nov 2013 23:56:24 GMT
in the presence of pele https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/in-the-presence-of-pele in the presence of pelein the presence of pele

in the presence of pele, hanalei bay, kauai

vog.

volcanic fog?

volcanic smog?

vog. it's like a pink haze blown from kona, and it gets really bad when the trade winds stop and the heat, humidity and kona winds prevail.

vog.

it's like pele's presence. a little reminder that she is still here. still active. still so powerful. it's also a reminder of what once was and what may be again.

adriftadrift

adrift, hanalei bay, kauai

pele is the goddess of fire. the goddess of the volcanoes and in that sense, she is the creator of the hawaiian islands. for hawaii, i guess you could say she is like mother earth. she is fierce and powerful and the myths recount stories of her jealousy. she is said to reside on the big island, but  sometimes she reveals herself elsewhere. one of naomi's friends swears that she saw pele at wailua falls, and that pele asked her for a cigarette. (i guess she didn't need a match! :-)).

tunnels full moon, tunnels, kauai

for a photographer the vog tends to obscure the landscape like any haze or fog, which makes finding detail and overall sharpness difficult, but the colors can be spectacular-- bright reds, soft pinks, and lush lavenders and purples that remind us that we are still in pele's powerful, feminine presence.

aloha pele. mahalo for your gift.

a walk on the beach, tunnels, kauai

 

aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beach driftwood hanalei bay hanalei pier hawaii kuaui north shore pele pink purple tree tunnels vog https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/in-the-presence-of-pele Tue, 19 Nov 2013 21:45:26 GMT
life's a... wet cave? musings on plan b https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/lifes-a-wet-cave wet cave, ke'e, kauai

last week i went to one of my favorite places, but got skunked. the waves just weren't happening and the light wasn't too good either. since i was in the neighborhood i decided to shoot the wet cave instead. sometimes you gotta have a plan b. 

recently i have tried to shoot more inland, away from the beaches and ocean. try to expand my portfolio mauka or mountain side. this has led me to the hanalei taro fields and hanalei river three or four times in the last three or four weeks. and yesterday, i saw a nice sunrise sky changing colors over young taro, that, just a few weeks ago didn't even have any leaves.

 

green taro and pastel sky, hanalei, kaua

when i go out for sunrise or sunset pics i generally stay in one area, and usually don't even move more than 20 feet or so. i kinda camp out i guess, committed to that spot, but not necessarily that single perspective. and i always try to look behind me to see what i can see.

refugerefuge

hanalei refuge, hanalei, kauai

this shot of the red sky and hanalei river looks back into the hanalei wildlife refuge. it was taken with a 16-35 lens and it is held steady at the 16mm  focal length. nine minutes later i got in tight to the sky with a 70-200 and peaked right over the mountain to get my favorite shot of the day.

horse tails and chariotshorse tails and chariots

horse tails and chariots, hanalei, kauai

sometimes it's good to go mauka.

aloha,

lee 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hanalei hanalei river hanalei wildlife refuge hawaii kauai ke'e makai mauka wet cave https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/lifes-a-wet-cave Sun, 17 Nov 2013 19:54:03 GMT
for a twist (of mind) https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/for-a-twist winter is here! well, hawaiian winter anyway. this gives us a chance to wear our jeans, drink cocoa with hot coconut milk (yum!), and snuggle up with cats while reading a good book on an overcast day with wind and rain. so what if it ain't so sunny as in summer. it's all good.

for a twistfor a twist

for a twist, lumahai

 

the last couple of days have been pretty cool, and the accompanying north swell have reminded us that the season's have changed. while we don't really have fall, we do have a distinct winter. it's primarily seen in the ocean-- with waves returning to our north shore, the triple crown going down on oahu and yes, the occasional grey days that sometimes seem to run together for longer than we would like. 

but really what's not to like? it's all present. change. rain is just rain. grey is just grey. sun is just sun. preference is just in our mind. in a way, so are sensations on the body because although the body feels the warmth or the coolness it is registered in the mind. and in the mind those feelings are organized, and of course, judged, valued, liked, and disliked. 

rainbow wave breaking, lumahai

 

recently i have been re-reading one of my favorite book Freeing the Body, Freeing the Mine. It is edited by yogi and psychologist Michael Stone. this morning's essay was on mindfulness of the body. at first it seemed strange to me that a spiritual thought, much less such a huge spiritual endeavor  as liberation or moksa, would even consider the body! but the buddha is wiser then me and once that i realized the body is just a metaphor the physical or the here and the now-- the world and life in the world-- it began to make sense. it's brilliant. the spiritual is in the physical. actually there is only one. there is really no separation nor distinction. it's just all there is. so i guess there is really no winter nor summer. it's just the physical. it's just the spiritual. it's just experience of what is now. without terms, without judgement and without preference. it's all the same, just different. 

morning in hanaleimorning in hanalei hanalei on a day (there is no winter, there is no summer), princeville

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) buddhism freeing the body, freeing the mind hanalei hawaii kauai lumahai makana mana mindfulness north shore princeville wave waves winter zen https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/for-a-twist Fri, 15 Nov 2013 20:58:35 GMT
mana means power-- big surf returns to the north shore https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/mana-means-power---big-surf-returns-to-the-north-shore mana is a polynesian concept of great energy and power. i have heard of it in the tahitian, rapa nui, and hawaiian languages and have felt it for real on maui, oahu, kauai and rapa nui.

one of my favorite ways to experience mana is through the surf, the ocean and her waves. 

mana means power, lumahai, kauai

lumahai beach on the north shore is one of the most powerful places on kauai. mana just overflows the beach as wave after waves pounds the sand in an uproarious spectacle of ever changing volume.

rainbow falling, lumahai, kauai

naomi was looking for shells on the narrowest lumahai beach that i have ever seen. waves were mackin' deep off shore-- 25 foot bombs, at least-- and i was just taking it all in. absorbing the mans as if the power could seep into my skin from the salt and spray of these magnificent waves. the hawaiians believed that you could indeed take mana into you body. they said that it stays in your bones and gives strength, courage, wisdom, and even compassion. 

aloha, 

lee

mana's here, lumahai, kauai

  

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii kauai lumahai mana north shore polynesia polynesian culture waves winter https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/11/mana-means-power---big-surf-returns-to-the-north-shore Thu, 14 Nov 2013 20:47:47 GMT
positive press https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/8/positive-press Aloha! I am happy to announce more positive press for my photography. Three of my photos: cotton candy waves (things unseen), mirror of the mind, and yo were named Finalists in the 2013 Nature Photo Contest. I am especially pleased to have a photo represented in each of the three categories: landscape, plants, and wildlife.

My winning photos are (drum roll please!):

Cotton Candy Waves (Things Unseen) cotton candy waves (things unseen). 2013 Nature Photo Contest Finalist, Landscape Category

 

Mirror of the Mind

mirror of the mind. 2013 Nature Photo Contest Finalist, Plants Category

 

yo. 2013 Nature Photo Contest Finalist, Wildlife Category

 

all winners may be seen at the contest link here:

http://www.jasphotocontest.com/2013-winners.html

aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) 2013 nature photo contest cotton candy waves mirror of the mind positive press yo https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/8/positive-press Thu, 01 Aug 2013 19:34:36 GMT
a working day off https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/7/a-working-day-off every wednesday i try to take a "working day off" where i close up the gallery and get out on the trail. some days i go looking for new places to shoot, while other days i go with a specific location in mind-- like this past wednesday. i was on a mission to hanakapi'ai falls.

hanakapi'ai falls is a 300 foot waterfall deep in the hanakapi'ai valley. the trail to the falls is a two mile offshoot of the kalalau trail and begins at hanakapi'ai beach on the na pali coast. it's pure kauai jungle hiking-- lots of green, flowing streams and no snakes! smile.

this time of year the kalalau trail-- especially to hanakapi'ai beach-- can be quite crowded with vacationing day hikers, leaving the parking lot at ke'e full by 9am. when i hike, i like to be on the trail early anyway so i set the alarm for 4am with the plan of getting to ke'e at 5am. i was the third car in the parking lot and out of my slippas and into my hiking shoes with head light on and on the trail by 5.15.

quiet.

just the sound of my steps, breath, waves breaking and little birds waking. 

it was like i had kauai all to myself.

 

photo: trail lamp. location: kalalau trail. gallery: tbd

 

the pre-dawn was beautiful and even though i was on a mission to the falls, and had predetermined not to take any pictures along the way because i wanted to get to the falls with no one there, i couldn't help myself. i had to take a couple of shots. just a few quickies of the moon and the orange skies of dawn.

 

photo: the orange skies of dawn. location: kalalau trail. gallery: tbd

 

and at hanakapi'ai beach i took out the camera again and found a place that reflected the quiet of the morning and the stillness of zen. and even though i was going with the intentions of capturing hanakapi'ai falls for the gallery, this shot is my favorite from the day.

 

photo: early morning on the kalalau. location: hanakapi'ai beach. gallery: full time

i had to laugh at myself and my ambition to be the first one at the falls. i was reminded that it's the journey that's important and not the destination. and, really, it's all the journey. zen teaches that, actually, the path is the destination.

the path is the destination.

there is no destination. it's all a journey. even when you reach the destination, you gotta go back. and that's the challenge-- living the mundane and extraordinary after little glimpses of satori or enlightenment. living with the ego after it's been lost or forgotten in the sunrise, in the reflection or in the moon. 

the path is the destination.

 

Depth

photo: depth. location: hanakapi'ai falls trail. gallery: full time

 

i turn inland and head towards the valley in thick jungle along the pleasant sounding hanakapi'ai stream. these waters run from the valley end to the sea and i am walking to see where they fall.

 photo: like magic. location: hanakapi'ai falls. gallery: tbd

 

when i arrive at the falls i am the only person there. like the trail before, i have the falls all to myself. i scout out a couple of angels and choose one from straight on. i am able to get the entire 300 foot fall in view. i like the little pool at the bottom, like cup of overflowing magic. hyperbole it sounds like, i know, but when you see kauai you'll understand. especially when you are able to have such an intimate dialogue with her in such a private setting. for thirty minutes or more, i am the only one here, listening to kauai's whispers and taking in her energy. 

mana falls, and energy changes form.

i talk with alex, who arrives at the falls nearly an hour after me. she, too, is surprised that no one is there. she kindly asks me if it's ok to swim under the falls (she doesn't want to get in the way of my picture). i tell her it's cold, but go right ahead. that's what she came for. so's she's gotta swim. she thanks me and slowly wades in-- with a gasp of breath and howl. yes, it is cold!

i continue shooting and just take it all in. eat a couple of chocolate nut bars and think to myself-- it's about the journey. and good snacks along the way. 

aloha,

lee

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hanakapi'ai beach hanakapi'ai falls hawaii hiking kalalau trail kauai https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/7/a-working-day-off Sun, 28 Jul 2013 22:15:52 GMT
moon viewing https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/7/moon-viewing last night after work naomi and i went on a sunset hike up the east kauai landmark, sleeping giant.

 

photo: kalalea cloud. location: wailua, kauai. gallery: tbd

 

sunset way to the northwest as the clouds came in from the ocean to the southeast, making a little pukka of late evening blue.

 

and then...

wind blown clouds

let their secrets go

moon viewing.

 

photo: full moon viewing. location: wailua, kauai. gallery: tbd

 

aloha,

lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) east side kauai full moon viewing hiking sleeping giant waiulua https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/7/moon-viewing Tue, 23 Jul 2013 05:57:35 GMT
softness https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/7/softness  

"Soft doesn't mean weak."

     ~ Rolf

Earlier this year Naomi and I spent three months in Goa, that dirty old portagee colony of southwest India. While there I practiced Ashtanga yoga with Rolf and Marci, took pictures, walked dogs, ate dosas, dodged crazy Indian "traffic" on crazy Indian "roads" on a black honda scooter, read books and slept. It was a good time, meeting yogis and artists who have become special friends. 

After returning to Kauai in May, I found a little space for my photography and opened a photo gallery in Kapa'a. Two months have passed since the grand opening and the (art) business is going well-- knock on wood. This morning the first thing I did upon getting to the gallery was answer an email regarding an order and then it was all about carefully packing and boxing my artwork. I packed up 4 orders this morning (11 images to 4 different destinations)! So busy art days and photo shoots have taken away some of my practice time.

I remember those first few weeks after opening I would wake up and immediately have ten different thoughts in my head-- i have to paint the gallery door; i have to get Nate to finish the print rack; I need more lights; I have to take the ladder; I have to take the bus(!); I want this photo for the gallery; and on and on the thoughts went.

My yoga practice went from 2 and half hours of Ashtanga daily to 30 minutes or an hour twice a week. On same days I would skip my practice all together and go out and shoot. On other days I would get in 5 sun salutations before breakfast and then I was out the door ready to sell my art.

Now, two months in, things have settled down a bit. I kinda understand the business and what I need to do each day to have success and joy. I also have a pretty good idea about my inventory and am happy with the gallery. And even more importantly, I am happy with the work. So I feel that it's time to get back to my daily yoga practice and a spiritual routine.

I read in The Snow Leopard that quitting the spiritual path is more harmful and painful than never beginning the sacred journey. And that's what I feel now as I return to the familiar postures of my yoga practice. Each forward bend and every down dog, while not painful, is definitely not easy. Where I once felt such ease (sukka) I feel (mostly) is dukkha or discomfort. I am reminded that "yoga isn't easy" and that "soft doesn't mean weak." That's what I am trying to remember as I shake through the holds and feel parts of my body that I haven't felt in-- quite literally-- years.

Breath. Breath. Breath softly. Soft doesn't mean weak. Find strength in softness. Soft is strong. Soft breath. Strong breath. Soft breath. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Wow. That hurts..... Breathe. Breathe. Softly breathe.

Rolf's teachings also remind me that compassion is also strong. It is strength of heart and mind. Yoga is always presenting us with challenges and lessons. I guess it has taken a break in the practice to remind me of these things and feelings. These lessons that, perhaps in my skill and comfort, I had forgotten.

Beginners Mind.

Never forget what it feels like to be a beginner. A beginner businessman. A beginner photographer. A beginner yogi. Never forget the joys, excitement, difficulties and discomfort of a beginner. Good lessons to learn and remember. And I am thankful to learn them again-- through my photography and business and, once again, through yoga.

Aloha,

lee

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) beginner breathe softness yoga https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/7/softness Sun, 21 Jul 2013 09:02:13 GMT
another aspect of reality https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/7/another-aspect-of-reality "The historical diffusion of such teachings [esoteric and shamanistic teachings found throughout the various cultures of the world]-- and perhaps prehistorical as well-- is supported by striking consistencies in the practice of what Westerners, having lost the secrets, refer to with mixed fascination and contempt as "mysticism" or "the occult" but which for the less alienated cultures, past and present, is only another aspect of reality."

~ Peter Matthiessen from The Snow Leopard

I am reading a beautiful book now. It is called The Snow Leopard. It's by the American author Peter Matthiessen, who is perhaps known better for his fictional works At Play in the Fields of the Lord and Shadow Country.

The Snow Leopard is a beautiful travel book-- it's an extended essay on Zen, and a journey within amidst a Himalayan expedition in search of blue sheep (and if a yeti or a majestic snow leopard were to be seen, then even better).

The prose is is legato, like the easy rhythm found on a long, comfortable walk. The diction is simple, grounded like Zen, but like Zen, it is also profound and intense. The passage that I quoted above impressed me in that it is a very eloquent expression of what I often say, "The west is dry." And by that I mean, the west has gained a paradoxical state of mind-- empirical yet closed to so much experience. This has left the west-- and my culture-- dry, and as Mattiessen sadly points out, "alienated" to the possibilities inherent in reality.

 

stand tall

photo: stand tall. location: muroji temple, nara, japan. gallery: three jewels

 

To experience this dynamic reality all we have to do is look around us-- with an open heart-- and eyes and ears and mind. 

Zen often tells of the flags blowing in the wind and asks does the wind blow or do the flags. The answer then comes that neither do, it is your Mind. That is to say it is the energy that is everywhere and the energy that is in us. This is the same energy that flows through reality. And Matthiessen reminds us, through a beautiful travelogue, that this energy needs to be embraced so that we may become part of the whole, the real, the true.

aloha,

lee

 

 

47八坂寺 rejoice

photo: rejoice. location: ehime, japan. gallery: three jewels

 

 

 

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) Buddhism The Snow Leopard Zen travel writings https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/7/another-aspect-of-reality Fri, 19 Jul 2013 23:56:23 GMT
7 minutes at tunnels https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/5/7-minutes-at-tunnels  

aloha.

today i'd like to briefly look at the changes that can take place during one photo shoot. we'll look at 35 minutes through five photos taken at 7 minute intervals. in photography, 7 minutes is a really long time! new worlds, colors, and emotions form and fade in just seconds, and as a photographer i think it is important to be aware of the changes and be prepared to adapt to them--- you'll need to be willing to change your perspective, subject, and settings quickly. it's also important to realize that it all changes so don't give up on a shot too soon and don't be too rigid in your ideas.

i often say that photography is all about compromise-- how much light do you accept? how much movement? how much depth do you wish to sacrifice for clarity? how much color for light? the list goes on and on, and it's all of these compromises that make up much of the technical challenges of photography. and of course you also have to compose the shot, but before all of that you have to choose the subject.

this series of photographs were all taken in one shoot at tunnels beach. when i arrived, i had an idea of what i wanted to shoot-- tunnels beach with setting sun and mount makana. but i was unsure of exactly how i was going to frame the shot. so i arrived early and played around with it. 

here's the first shot in the series-- 6.40pm. as you can see the sun is just now beginning to approach the horizon line of ocean and sky. and as far as the subject goes, i have a lot of the mountain and beach in the frame.

 

now the second photo, 6.47pm, shows a shift in perspective and mood. 

i think the change, along with the softer light of the lower sun, brings the viewer closer to the image. i tried to bring a hint of intimacy to the subject by inviting the viewer into the image. in a sense, i've invited the viewer to become a participant in the scene. notice how the waves come much closer in this shot as compared to the one before with the long, straight beach scene. i like this change better, and i stick with it for the rest of the shoot. 

in the 7 minutes between the two shots, the subject changed-- really it changed completely. the subject went from a distant beach and mountain to the impressions of the potential viewer. now i just needed to wait and see what colors would come.

6.54pm gave me this...

cool. a nice scene. softer waves. less light available so i am able to give the show the movement of the waves, which makes them appear softer. all of which plays on the emotions and allows the viewer to take more of an active role in the image. it's almost as if they can step into the image. or better yet, it's as if the image is beginning to pull the viewer in. and this is when you know you've got a good picture-- it literally pulls you in. it makes you a part of the scene. and when that happens, the mind finds a myriad of connections to the place, image, scenery, memory of it all.

and i think the image taken at 7.01 pm does it completely with the amazing sky, flower like wave pattern on the beach, and a surfer's footprints slowly being washed away. this shot is the keeper from the entire shoot, and i named it washed away. 

washed away i find the scene evocative and rich in color. the mountain is there, but it doesn't over power the scene with its presence. instead the colors of the sky-- the pinks and blues dancing playfully-- become the central element to the shot. the mountain, beach and waves compliment, but the power lies not in the forms depicted, but in the emotions and feelings the create. the yellow hints at the sun shortly set. and the waves lapp at footprints, letting us know that the only constant is change and nature's beauty.

yep, i like this one. 

i stayed a few minutes longer and one of the last shots of the night came 7 minutes later at 7.08, and although a nice shot, the drama is gone.

and so too, the warmth and proximity of the pastel colors-- replaced by a cool blue. and with those gone so is the viewer's intimate relationship with the scene. now, instead of participant the viewer is actually only a bystander with nothing invested. only the sense that something was missed. that's the affect of time. that's the power of color. that's all the difference in the world. 

aloha, 

lee

 

washed away is currently on display at the photo gallery, light source, in kapa'a, kauai, hawaii. stop by if you get a chance. mahalo!

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) 7 bystander drama kauai participant photography sunset time tunnels viewer https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/5/7-minutes-at-tunnels Fri, 31 May 2013 22:33:11 GMT
as a prayer https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/1/every-step "With this sacred pipe you will walk upon the Earth; for the Earth is your Grandmother and Mother, and She is sacred. Every step that is taken upon Her should be as a prayer."

~ Black Elk, Lakota Sioux holy man and spiritual teacher telling of the White Buffalo Cow Woman's Teachings to the Sioux

as a prayer

I am reading The Sacred Pipe now and the above quote is taken from this book on the spiritual rites of the Oglala Sioux. The Sioux are a Native American tribe of the Dakotas and Tetons. Famous Sioux are Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and Black Elk. Famous places of the Sioux are the Black Hills, Little Big Horn, and Pine Ridge Reservation.

The Sacred Pipe is at once a book of profound spiritual teachings and an oral history of a way that is certainly better than the current one. The first teaching of the book is that of the Earth as Grandmother and Mother, as protecter and one that should be protected.

It tells us that the Earth, as Grandmother and Mother, is both fecund and vulnerable and that she should be loved.

The teaching is simple in it's logic and breadth-- that each step should be as a prayer, that each step should be a word of gratitude for the nourishment and gift of life. That each step upon the Earth should be made with care and awareness.

It is a beautiful teaching of gracious words for the Earth and for our soul. 

✴✴✴

Up until yesterday, the picture above was called Walking on Mars after the trippy skies and reddish landscape of Haleakala. But now, after reading Black Elk's teachings, I have chosen to rename it as a reminder that the steps that we take upon the Earth should be as sacred As a Prayer. 

Thank you, Black Elk, for the inspiration and for the teaching. I will now try to live by your example.

Aloha,

lee

✴the photograph As a Prayer may be viewed in the gallery Travels

✴✴For those interested in reading more about Black Elk and the Lakaota Sioux way of life and spiritual teachings I encourage you to read the highly poetic history Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt.

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) American Black Elk Haleakala Native Native American Spirituality Wisdom" https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/1/every-step Wed, 09 Jan 2013 05:45:54 GMT
day one https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/1/day-one Aloha. I am writing on day two about day one of being a full time photographer. On Saturday, I resigned my position as a Butler at the St. Regis Princeville to concentrate on my photography and my yoga full time. And to celebrate, I went out to shoot Sunday morning and evening. Now that I am a pro I'm free to work, and I better work.

Unfortunatley, the morning shoot wasn't that great. I went out to Haena Beach Park and walked along the beach, heading north to Ke'e. Although I encountered rainbows for days, I didn't come back with anything that spectacular. With the exception of the photo below-- Haena Rainbow-- I just didn't find anything, or perhaps, create anything that, at the moment, really stands out to me. But a conversation that I had did.

 

While I was taking a series of shots of beach and rainbow (one of them became Haena Rainbow) a stranger, who was walking with his wife, daughter and granddaughter, stopped to chat. He asked me, "Is this better than photographing polar bears and penguins in the arctic?" I laughed and said, "Yes. It's probably easier on my fingers, too!" We shared a laugh together and talked story for a bit longer, and when we parted he told me to "enjoy the rest of your life." Wonderful advice for Day One.

 

That evening's session was more productive-- on the shooting end of things. I was able to get a couple of shots that I really liked. I even have that luxurious problem of choosing the "best one." You know when you have a couple of shots of a similar subject and you just can't decide which one you like best. Well, here are the two that I am currently considering. The first one is called, Maha Deva

maha devamaha deva

The second one is Tiger Stripes and Phoenix Wings.

tiger stripes and phoenix wingstiger stripes and phoenix wings

I'm not sure which one I prefer. I like the suspended movement in Tiger Stripes, but the sun in Maha Deva reminds me strongly of Shiva and my upcoming trip to India.

Sometimes I think a picture, through light and color, should remind you of a place, a person, a belief and then impress upon you the many feelings that they bring to the heart; the thoughts they bring to the mind; and the little shifts of movement they cause on the soul.

And for those reasons, this one is my favorite one of the day-- The Time of Change.

Aloha,

lee

 

✴the photographs Haena Rainbow and The Time of Change may be viewed in the gallery Full Time

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(Light Source Photography by Lee Scott) hawaii kauai kauai sunset ke'e ke'e beach ke'e sunset sunset https://www.hikarils.com/blog/2013/1/day-one Tue, 08 Jan 2013 04:45:26 GMT